Dundee to host e-health research centre of excellence

Pipette and test tubes The centres will combine clinical, social and research data to investigate serious conditions

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A health research centre of excellence is to be set up in Dundee as part of a UK drive to improve health care.

The city will be among four UK centres which will harness electronic health records in a bid to improve patient care and public health.

A total of £19m is being invested in the e-health centres by a consortium of UK government and charity funders.

They will investigate a wide range of conditions, including diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

By combining clinical, social and research data, researchers aim to identify more effective treatments, improve drug safety, assess risks to public health and study the causes of diseases and disability.

Edinburgh, Strathclyde and Dundee universities will also receive funding to help academics and small businesses explore the market potential of their ideas.

The funding awards were announced by UK Science Minister David Willetts.

The four new centres are expected to open in late 2012.

Research datalink

They will make use of patient data sets available through the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, a £60m service recently announced by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and the National Institute for Health Research.

Prof Andrew Morris, dean of the school of medicine at Dundee, said: "This builds upon over 40 years' experience of using electronic patient records, not only to drive improvements in the quality of health care in Scotland but also to innovate in the way we deliver clinical trials and discover the best treatment options for patients and communities. "

The members of the E-Health Research Initiative who are jointly funding the four centres include Arthritis Research UK, the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust.

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore described the creation of a centre of excellence in Dundee as a "significant boost" to Scotland's life sciences sector.

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