The Farr Institute was a UK-wide research collaboration involving 21 academic institutions and health partners in England, Scotland and Wales. Publically funded by a consortium of ten organisations led by the Medical Research Council, the Institute was committed to delivering high-quality, cutting-edge research using ‘big data’ to advance the health and care of patients and the public.
By connecting diverse molecular, phenotypic, health and non-health datasets at scale, the core activities of the UK’s health and medical bioinformatics research community applied cutting-edge data science approaches to address major challenges across the nation’s 65 million population in the areas represented below.
In March 2013, a consortium of ten funders made a £17.5m research award to develop four Centres of Excellence in eHealth informatics research. This was supplemented by an additional £20m in capital funds from the Medical Research Council to create a world-class institute and computing infrastructure for creative research.
Led by Swansea University, the University of Manchester, University College London and the University of Dundee, four Centres were created; Farr Institute CIPHER, HeRC, London, and Scotland. These Centres formed the cornerstones of a research network tasked with optimizing the safe and trusted use of clinical, environment and population data in health research.
The Centres created the infrastructure for cross-sector collaboration, developing a broader research community and harnessing expertise from across government, public sector, academia and industry.
A further £2m was awarded by the Medical Research Council to develop this UK-wide research network. Inspired by William Farr, a nineteenth-century British epidemiologist regarded as one of the founders of medical statistics, The Farr Institute was created as an overarching brand to represent and accelerate research led by the four Centres and to unite the collaborative research, innovation and partnerships occurring across the wider UK network.
The Farr Institute’s grant funding ended in 2018.