University welcomes £5m investment to improve healthcare through data science

CHIL, University of Liverpool

New investment worth £4.9m has been pledged to a new University of Liverpool initiative to improve healthcare through data science.

The Office for Life Sciences (OLS) has made the award to the university’s recently-launched Civic Health Innovation Labs (CHIL) research centre.

CHIL is a purpose-built space, located at Liverpool Science Park, where health and technology experts can work together to drive advances in care and wellbeing.

The new investment will deliver the ‘Data-Action Accelerator’ which brings data scientists and engineers working in and around the NHS together with researchers to tackle global problems.

It will support work to address antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which occurs when microbes – such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi – develop the ability to defeat medicines used to treat infections.

The rise in mental health conditions and the increasing pressures on health systems around the world from people living longer with more than one long term condition – particularly combinations of mental and physical health problems in deprived populations – will also be addressed.

Significantly, the Data-Action Accelerator will enable researchers to use data to create cost effective personalised health technologies for the NHS and give NHS health care professionals training opportunities to use health data most effectively.

CHIL will work with industry partners, Quantexa and IQVIA. Quantexa’s move into the region will see its data analytic technology applied to extend reach across bigger, more complex data sources than usual – improving research insights and informing healthcare decisions.

Significantly, Quantexa’s involvement will also support the creation of local jobs in health-tech development, data and analytics, which reflects a key ambition of CHIL in the Liverpool City Region’s Health and Life Sciences Investment Zone, launched last week.

CHIL’s collaboration with IQVIA will ensure that applications designed to address the increasing threat posed by AMR can be adopted at pace and scale to engender optimal prescribing of antibiotics across the NHS.

Prof Iain Buchan, Director of CHIL, and W H Duncan Chair in Public Health Systems and Associate Pro Vice Chancellor for Innovation, University of Liverpool, welcomed the funding, saying: “At our recent launch attended by local and national leaders of civic and health innovation we were heartened by the commitment to projects like the new OLS Data-Action Accelerator, in fusing multidisciplinary science and engineering to advance public health.

“The Accelerator will drive Artificial Intelligence (AI) that tackles hard problems in infection, mental health and optimal use of medicines – minimising harms and delivering better value for patients and the public.”

Rosalind Campion, Director, The Office for Life Sciences, said: “The Life Sciences Vision identified investment in health data as a key prerequisite for success, and crucial to unlocking its full research and innovation potential.

“Centres such as CHIL are a shining example of why the UK Life Sciences Sector is internationally recognised – powered by our leadership in innovation, the excellence of our scientific institutions, and the vibrant entrepreneurial community that supports our economy.”

This OLS funding is awarded via the NHS England Data for R&D Programme through the North West sub-national Secure Data Environment (SDE) programme to the University of Liverpool.