UK Biobank opens its data box
02.04.2012 - The not-for-profit UK Biobank, the most comprehensive health study in Britain, is now accessible to researchers from industry and academia.
The resource, which contains some 1,000 pieces of health and lifestyle information approx 500,000 participants aged 40-69 when they joined the four-year project, will continue to be updated with additional information and the results of research carried out on its data. It currently contains about 20 TB (terabytes) of securely stored data.
Amongst the half a million Britons delivering data, are 26,000 people with diabetes and 50,000 with joint disorders, 41,000 teetotallers, and 11,000 heart attack patients. Scientists will be granted access to the data if they can show that their research is health-related and in the public interest. They do not have to be from or based in the UK, and it will not matter if they are from academia, industry, charities or governments. Successful applications will be published on the website. UK Biobank is funded by the Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council, Department of Health, Scottish Government, Welsh Government and the British Heart Foundation. Professor Sir Mike Rawlins, chair of the UK's National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), has been announced as chairman of the organisation, replacing Sir Alan Langlands, chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England, and former CEO of the NHS, who over the past eight years has steered the project through its establishment and early phases.