Our Future Health, which aims to eventually recruit up to five million adults to the programme, has launched this week. The programme, chaired by Professor Sir John Bell, aims to utilise volunteers to create a detailed, diverse health picture of the UK population. It is hoped that this will help to develop innovative new ways to diagnose, detect and treat a wide range of diseases, with a major focus on identifying signs of common disease before symptoms appear.
Researchers from across the entire life sciences community, including academia, industry and the NHS, will be able to apply to study Our Future Health resources for their crucial research.
The initiative has drawn wide support from major charities such as The British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and Diabetes UK. While funding has been secured from UKRI to the tune of £79 million, with leading life sciences companies also pledging £100 million to support the design and delivery of innovative products. It also hopes to secure around £160 million from disease-related charities and other health research-focused life sciences companies.
The programme is currently in the pilot phase involving a small number of participants but will be rolled out to all members of the public from Spring 2022.
It should be noted that the initiative wants life sciences companies to play a much bigger part than just funding. Our industry brings expertise in discovering and developing new methods of prevention, early detection and treatment of diseases and health conditions which can significantly benefit the programme.
All researchers will be held to the same standard – whether from SMEs or the NHS – and industry partners will be able to apply to their Access Board for approval to conduct research in the same way as other researchers.