Our mission and purpose

Why was the Gateway established?

Health datasets in the UK are held by thousands of different organisations in the UK. It can therefore be difficult for researchers, innovators and also members of the public and patients, to discover what datasets exist. The Gateway was established in 2020 as a common entry point for researchers and innovators to discover and request access to UK health-related datasets. The Gateway lists information about each dataset (such as description, size of the population contained within that dataset, and the legal basis for access) that can help researchers and innovators decide whether a dataset could be useful to their research and help them to make further health discoveries.

The Gateway was created with input from patients, the public, researchers and innovators working in health and care in the UK. Health Data Research UK is committed to its continued partnership with these groups as the Gateway develops.


How the Gateway works

You can think of the Gateway as a search-engine or ‘portal’ to help you find health datasets that exist in the UK, but also associated health data resources such as tools, research projects and publications (academic papers).

The Gateway does not hold or store any datasets or patient or health data but rather acts as a portal to allow discovery of datasets and to request access to them for health research. A dataset is a collection of related individual pieces of data but in the case of health data, identifiable information (e.g. name or NHS number) is removed and data is de-identified where possible. When you access the Gateway, you will not be able to view or extract the data itself. Instead, you will be able to see information that describes what the different datasets are (e.g. where the dataset has come from, a description of the dataset, the time period and the geographical areas the dataset covers).

The datasets that are discoverable through the Gateway are from organisations in the NHS, research institutes and charities, which are part of the UK Health Data Research Alliance. You can find out more about its members on the UK Health Data Research Alliance website. The information about the datasets has been provided by the relevant data custodian and is continually updated.

In order to request access to the data, you will need to sign in and then follow the access request process. Only once your request has been through the process to ensure your application meets all of the requirements and is approved by the data controller, will you be able to access the data. Your access to the data will be provided outside of the Gateway in line with the processes of the data controller.


Who manages the Innovation Gateway?

The Health Data Research Innovation Gateway is managed by Health Data Research UK in collaboration with the UK Health Data Research Alliance. It is funded by UK Research and Innovation’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.


Who are Health Data Research UK?

Health Data Research UK is the national institute for health data science and its mission is to unite the UK’s health data to enable discoveries that improve people’s lives.

We are a registered charity no. 1194431 funded by UK Research and Innovation, the Department of Health and Social Care in England and equivalents in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, and leading medical research charities.