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This is the number of organisations across the region that are actively involved in our mission



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The HDR UK Midlands Regional Network

HDR UK Midlands is part of Health Data Research UK (HDR UK), who are the national institute for health data science.  Our regional community is made-up of clinicians, academics, data scientists, analysts and technologists who are interested in health data science.   

Our network is not exclusive and is therefore open to anyone who has an interest in health data science. This includes our patients and the public.

We are funded by Health Data Research UK and hosted by the University of Birmingham.

Our original consortium partners include The University of Birmingham, The University of Leicester, The University of Nottingham, The University of Warwick and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.  We now aim to expand this network reaching out to all parts of our region.

Our regional footprint incorporates the East and West Midlands regions of the UK and expands out to Derbyshire’s Peak District, and also includes the rural counties of Herefordshire, Lincolnshire and Shropshire.


Our aim is to improve health through uniting the healthcare, social care and data science communities across the Midlands.

We undertake this aim by supporting our teams to improve the quality of health-related data and to drive forward new technologies to equip our front-line clinical staff to deliver excellent care.

Our three strategic priorities are:

      1. To maintain and expand the HDR UK Midlands regional network reaching out to all parts of our region.
      2. To upskill and improve the knowledge and capabilities of our workforce by enabling them to learn from each other.
      3. To maximise opportunities for our region through the HDR UK Midlands regional community platform.
View our draft strategy document


Our partners include our regional NHS organisations, local government, academic institutions, industry (commercial companies) and the third sector (charitable/non-profit organisations).

Patients and service users are at the heart of what we do and we utilise existing patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE) networks to support our programmes of work.

We also work with other networks that are part of our regional health ecosystem, such as our NHS Integrated Care Boards (ICBs), NIHR Clinical Research Networks (CRNs), NIHR Biomedical Research Centres (BRCs), NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) and our Health Innovation Networks (formerly called AHSNs).


Health Data Research UK Midlands host the Midlands Chief Clinical Information Officers’ (CCIO) Network, which brings together the senior clinical leadership team who are responsible for driving digital transformation across our regional NHS.

The CCIO community work together to share knowledge, learning and best practice to ultimately improve the quality and safety of care that is delivered across the Midlands.

Find out more...


Our regional Leadership Team is made up of our Directors, our Associate Directors and our Regional Manager.  This group meets bi-monthly and discusses and decides upon both the strategic and operational priorities of our network. The leadership team also monitor and oversee our progress and performance against our strategic objectives.


Dr Fiona Pearce



Fiona Pearce is an NIHR Advanced Fellow, and Clinical Associate Professor in Rheumatology Epidemiology at the University of Nottingham. She holds an honorary position as a consultant rheumatologist (autoimmune arthritis specialist) at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, and as an honorary consultant within the Rare Disease Team at the National Disease Registration Service in NHS England.

Fiona’s research interests are centred around rare autoimmune rheumatic diseases, such vasculitis, lupus and scleroderma. She has a particular interest in using routinely collected healthcare data to improve the lives of people with rare diseases. She is interested in developing ways to conduct health data research in rare diseases using whole population approaches and to make this scalable to all 5000 rare diseases. She works with HDRUK and other relevant organisations to develop health data research capacity in rare diseases.

She regularly publishes research papers in scientific journals and has contributed a book chapter to the Oxford Textbook of Medicine.

Fiona’s motivation, whether in research or in the clinic, is to improve the care of patients with rare autoimmune diseases.

University of Nottingham

Email address: fiona.pearce@nottingham.ac.uk

Professor Alastair Denniston



Alastair Denniston is a consultant ophthalmologist (eye specialist) at University Hospitals Birmingham leading research into the use of health data research and artificial intelligence to improve patient care in the ‘real world’. He is Professor at the University of Birmingham, and part of the Biomedical Research Centre for Ophthalmology at Moorfields Eye Hospital/UCL.

Alastair has particular interest in how we can ensure that the innovation within the broad field of ‘artificial intelligence’ is translated efficiently but safely to benefit patients. This includes improving the reporting standards of trials (CONSORT-AI and SPIRIT-AI), helping define the regulatory framework for AI in healthcare, and working with HDRUK and other relevant organisations to support the best of these innovations right through the implementation pathway.

He is Director of INSIGHT, the HDRUK Health Data Research Hub for Eye Health which is focused on eye disease and its application to wider health, including diabetes and dementia. It will use anonymised large-scale data and advanced analytics, including artificial intelligence, to develop new insights in disease detection, diagnosis, treatments and personalised healthcare.

Alastair’s motivation, whether in research or in the clinic, is to improve the care of patients with potentially blinding disease.

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust

Email address: a.denniston@bham.ac.uk

Mr Kevin Dunn

HDR UK Programme Manager


Kevin Dunn is responsible for the operational management of HDR UK Midlands, which is a community of academic and clinical groups across the East and West Midlands regions of the UK.

Kevin started his career in the NHS as a Youth Trainee in 1998. Since this time, he has gained experience mainly in the fields of Health Informatics, Oncology, Research & Development (R&D) and Innovation Management.

With a passion for innovation, Kevin set up the first ever ‘national’ cancer multidisciplinary team (MDT) for the diagnosis and treatment of Ewing’s Sarcomas. He was formerly Head of Research, Innovation and Clinical Audit for a Specialist Orthopaedic Hospital. He also held the role of Head of Operations for the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (AHSN).

Kevin teaches on the Health Data Fundamentals module, as part of the MSc Health Data Science Masters programme at the University of Birmingham.

Kevin is ambitious, creative and visionary and is determined to transform health and social care services for the benefit of patients and service users.

University of Birmingham

Email address: k.w.dunn@bham.ac.uk