Office for strategic coordination of health research

The government currently funds health related research through two main routes, the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

The ‘Review of funding in UK health research’ led by Sir David Cooksey in 2006 resulted in the creation of the independent Office for Strategic Coordination of Health Research (OSCHR). Cooksey had identified considerable strength in the UK science base, but revealed cultural, institutional and financial barriers to the effective translation of health research into clinical practice. The review envisioned a cultural change among the public funders of health research to address the barriers to research collaboration and to support the application and translation of basic research into patient care and economic benefit.

Since 2007, the OSCHR Board has demonstrated a powerful capacity to work across government through collaboration, addressing many of the issues required to ensure a comprehensive health research environment and leading to improved health outcomes and economic growth. The OSCHR process has helped to focus on the development of better NHS electronic data capabilities for research, create a research programme for public health and greatly enhance translation science. OSCHR is one of a number of fora where the public funders of health research work together with other stakeholders.

In 2011, ministers at the Department of Health (DH) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) considered that OSCHR had delivered the majority of the changes to the UK health research landscape advocated in the Cooksey report. They agreed that OSCHR should continue to monitor the translational research activity funded by government and additionally explore the role the board could play in enhancing the funders’ existing contributions to economic growth through the life science sector.

Board membership

  • Rt Hon Professor Lord Kakkar PCI – Independent Chair – President Thrombosis Research Institute London; Chair King’s Health Partners Academic Health Science Centre
  • Professor Lucy Chappell – Chief Scientific Adviser, Department of Health and Social Care, England
  • Ms Alexandra Jones – Director, Industrial Strategy, Department for Science, Innovation and Technology
  • Professor John Iredale – Interim Chair, MRC
  • Mr Indro Mukerjee – CEO, Innovate UK
  • Stian Westlake – Executive Chair, Economic and Social Research Council
  • Professor Dame Jessica Corner – Executive Chair, Research England
  • Professor Ian Young – Director, Health and Social Care Research & Development, Northern Ireland
  • Professor Kieran Walshe – Director, Health and Care Research Wales
  • Mrs Nicola Perrin – CEO, Association of Medical Research Charities
  • Paul Schreier – Chief Executive Officer (Interim), Wellcome Trust
  • Dr Eliot Forster – Independent Member; Industry
  • Dame Jackie Daniel – Independent Member; NHS.
  • Dr Gail Marzetti – Director, Science, Research and Evidence, Department of Health and Social Care and Deputy CEO of the NIHR
  • Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak – Chief Scientist for Health, Scotland

For more information

Merewyn Loder, Head of OSCHR Office, DHSC


Last updated: 17 August 2023

This is the website for UKRI: our seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Let us know if you have feedback or would like to help improve our online products and services.