Learn more about UK Biobank
A powerful resource to improve public health
UK Biobank is a large-scale biomedical database and research resource that is enabling new scientific discoveries to be made that improve public health. The resource provides accredited researchers access to medical and genetic data from half a million volunteer participants to improve our understanding of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of serious and life-threatening illnesses.
Through the long-term commitment of 500,000 participants, together with the support of our funders, we are enabling new scientific discoveries that benefit people's health.
Who can use UK Biobank?
UK Biobank’s aim is to encourage as many bona fide researchers as possible to use the research resource to perform health research that’s in the public interest, whether they are from academic, commercial or charitable organisations– anywhere in the world.
This approach is enabling scientific discoveries that are changing our understanding of why and how diseases develop in some people but not in others. This will help to identify ways to prevent and treat a wide range of diseases in the future.
Improving the world's health is complex, which is why UK Biobank fosters collaboration between experts from academia, industry, charity, and government to support advances in health research.
Applications continue to grow year on year from 100 countries, with over 80% of applications to use the research resource coming from international researchers. We take pride in being able to showcase the UK as a place for enabling pioneering health research across the global research community.
UK Biobank encourage all researchers using its data, to share their findings by publishing in open access scientific journals. Once results are published researchers are required to return their results to us so that they can be shared with other scientists who can then test these findings, or use them to advance their own work. New research findings, using UK Biobank data, also regularly appear in the mainstream and scientific media and we support scientists to maximise their impact.
Advances in science and health are moving at a fantastic rate with the integration of new technologies. UK Biobank has been at the forefront of innovation in biomedical research for nearly two decades, from our large-scale storage processes for biological samples, to our adoption of new technologies to enable genetic analysis on an unprecedented scale. We work closely with the research community to introduce new enhancements that are at the cutting edge of science and technology.
Valuable data to help tackle a global pandemic
UK Biobank is made a valuable contribution in helping to tackle the global crisis of COVID-19. We made data available from electronic health records (diagnostic test data, death, hospitalisations and GP records) on a regular basis to researchers to better understand the genetic and lifestyle determinants of COVID-19.
In addition, 20,000 participants and their relatives provided blood samples across six months, and after one year, to help us understand the extent of infection and to provide insights about natural immunity to the virus. We also sent out antibody test kits to all 500,000 participants to determine those previously infected with the virus to help us understand the longer-term health consequences of infection. Some participants attended a second imaging visit to understand the impact of the virus on internal organs, which has generated novel results.
Learn more about what we do, the UK Biobank team and our commitment to enhancing the health data available to the international research community.
Find out more about the funding bodies who share our vision to enable the global research community to make important scientific discoveries through health data.
Keep up to date on new UK Biobank initiatives, in addition to the new health research findings being published regularly through the use of the resource.