The UK Biobank GW4 research collaborative


Project period: July – November 2016

GW4 community leads
University of Bath: Dylan Thompson
University of Bristol: Cathy Williams
Cardiff University: Jonathan Hewitt, Jeremy Guggenheim
University of Exeter: Jess Tyrell

Project overview

The UK Biobank is a unique biomedical resource and contains detailed demographic, health, social, genomic and environmental information on half a million UK citizens. These data are linked to a range of health outcomes, such as GP and hospital records and a large proportion of participants have completed cognitive tests, and given blood/DNA samples for genetic studies. One hundred thousand of these people will have detailed MRI imaging undertaken in the next few years.

This resource is an ideal vehicle to address the effects of demographic, genetic and lifestyle variables on health and wellbeing. Additionally the large range of data it contains allows for innovative environment and societal factors to be studied in relation to heath. We propose to inform researchers from the four universities about the potential of this biomedical resource and to facilitate collaboration between teams with different areas of expertise in exploring the opportunities this provides.

The UK Biobank is an on-going and expanding research platform that is likely to provide scientific information for the next forty years and most likely beyond. That degree of longevity provides a sustainable infrastructure on which our UK Biobank GW4 research collaborative can flourish and grow. By combining our research strengths and expertise across the four host Universities of GW4 we anticipate identifying novel research areas within UK Biobank, which will provide our institutes unique opportunities that could be missed without the GW4 collaboration.

Our objectives are

  1. To create a diverse, interdisciplinary community of UK Biobank researchers across the GW4 Universities
  2. To develop a culture of UK Biobank usage within GW4
  3. To leverage internal and external funding and sustained research output.
  4. To identify and promote research themes within UK Biobanks that will form ongoing self-sufficient research entities across the 4 Universities