Digital Innovation Hub Programme: Hub Call

Key Features

Organisations can apply for a share of up to £22 million to develop a Digital Innovation Hub to curate health data at scale and provide UK-wide expert research data services.

Programme:     UKRI ISCF

Award:     Share of up to £22 million

Opens: 7th May 2019

Closes: 2nd Jul 2019

! This scheme is now closed


The ISCF and MRC have a vision to make the UK home to data-driven research, scientific advances and innovation in healthcare to improve patient outcomes.

Engagement with researchers and industry has shown that ease of access to high-quality data, more efficient clinical trials, and better access to and use of real-world data are key to realising this vision. This must all be underpinned by public engagement and the highest standards of ethics and information governance.


The aim of the DIH Programme is to take a first step in addressing these needs as part of our quest to create a robust UK-wide infrastructure for health data research and innovation.

The DIH Programme will establish up to five Digital Innovation Hubs with a focus on curated, disease-focused datasets, clinical trials and real-world evidence. Each Hub will improve secure access to data through the UK Health Data Research Alliance and a common UK Health Data Research Innovation Gateway.

A key outcome of the DIH Programme is to deliver benefits to patients and members of the public. ISCF and the MRC are dedicated to increasing public involvement in the Programme with a commitment to transparency about our work and how data is used; protecting confidentiality; and applying a robust governance framework to ensure that health data is used ethically, responsibly and where there is a demonstrable benefit to society.

For more details on the competition and application process – please click here.


To lead a Digital Innovation Hub submission, you must be one of the following:

  • an NHS organisation, for example an NHS trust, or equivalent in the Devolved Administrations
  • an Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) or Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC)
  • a UK public sector organisation
  • a University or other research organisation.

The lead organisation must be able to demonstrate clinical leadership, a track record of the use of health data for public benefit and the ability to process health data for industrial research and innovation and deliver a national service that can be commercially sustainable for the long-term.

Eligible organisations for funding through this programme are:

  • any NHS organisation (local or national), for example an NHS trust, or equivalent in the Devolved Administrations
  • a higher education institution or other research organisation
  • a UK based business of any size
  • an Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) or Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC)
  • UK public sector organisations (not covered by the above)
  • UK based charities.

A minimum of two collaborating organisations from at least two of the different categories listed above must apply for the grant. Industry partnerships are highly desirable.

Funding Costs

£22 million is available from the ISCF to support up to five Digital Innovation Hubs, with up to £5 million available per Hub for the initial investment period (1 October 2019-30 August 2022). A portfolio of Hubs will be selected to cover a range of diseases, clinical trials and real-world evidence services.

The funding available will be to provide data and expert services to support research that improves access to and quality of data and increases the UK’s future research and innovation capability, delivering economic benefit to the UK. While Hubs will support research and innovation activities through the data and services they provide, the funding from this call will not support specific research projects.