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UK Biobank receives recognition from its core funders

UK Biobank receives recognition from its core funders for creating a world-leading research resource

UK Biobank’s founding funders, Wellcome and the Medical Research Council, alongside the other core funders, the National Institute for Health and Care Research, the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK, recently completed their latest 5-yearly review of UK Biobank and agreed to renew funding for the next 5 years.

Funders praised the exceptional progress UK Biobank has made since the previous review in 2016, offering congratulations to the entire team and praising the altruism of the 500,000 participants. UK Biobank received the maximum score of 10 out of 10 for both its past work and for its future plans, a score that is rarely given.

UK Biobank’s achievement in creating a unique global health resource that is of value nationally and internationally was recognised. It was noted that the resource is helping to address knowledge gaps by providing ready access to large-scale genetic and other data that will lead to improvements in the treatment and prevention of many different diseases.  

Importantly, the generous contribution of UK Biobank’s 500,000 participants in the creation of the resource was also recognised. Without their altruism, these scientific discoveries would not emerge. Thanks to their ongoing support, as well as this new funding, UK Biobank can provide researchers from around the world with greater opportunities to better understand early disease stages and their diagnosis, and support the development of new treatments for diseases of mid-to-later life.

UK Biobank’s founding funders said:

"“UK Biobank is truly a unique resource for global health researchers, and the MRC is proud to be one of its founding funders. Access to the resource is growing exponentially alongside impactful results, and this funding will continue to enable scientific discoveries for population health to emerge. UK Biobank's achievement in becoming a significant global asset for the health and life sciences is a result of the dedication of its staff and participants – to whom we owe a debt of gratitude, and we would like to congratulate them all.”"

Professor John Iredale, Interim Executive Chair MRC

"“UK Biobank has far exceeded its original expectations in creating a world-leading, unique research resource that is widely accessible to global health researchers. Wellcome is proud to be one of the founders of UK Biobank and remains impressed by the ambition of the resource to continue to enrich this major UK asset. We want to acknowledge the unwavering commitment of the 500,000 altruistic participants in helping UK Biobank to achieve such remarkable progress over the last five years and into the next for the advancement of human health.”"

Ms Cheryl Moore, Director, Research Programmes, Wellcome

This funding will enable UK Biobank to further curate and enhance the database, thereby creating an even more valuable resource for the international scientific community and encouraging many more researchers to use it in their health research. Importantly, the funding will also support increased engagement and involvement with UK Biobank’s 500,000 participants, as well as enabling greater dissemination of research findings and their impact to the wider public.             

"“We are delighted to have received such a positive review of UK Biobank’s achievements and future ambitions. This is testament to the hard work and dedication of the entire UK Biobank team, who all share an ambition for advancing scientific excellence. We are incredibly grateful to our participants for their forward-thinking approach in joining UK Biobank over a decade ago, and in continuing to support us to transform global health research for the benefit of many millions of people in the future. We look forward to the next five years to continue in our mission to enable the scientific community to find out how to prevent and treat disease better.”"

Professor Sir Rory Collins, Principal Investigator and Chief Executive of UK Biobank