UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering


New UCL training programme to boost data management and analysis skills for medical images

10 March 2021

UCL have been awarded £790,000 from the Medical Research Council (MRC) to develop an exciting new training programme to help improve the use and curation of medical imaging data in research.

Medical imaging

The new programme, Health and Bioscience IDEAS – Imaging, Data structures, gEnetics and Analytical Strategies, will focus on building researchers’ skills in data management and analysis.

Imaging data and associated information are playing an increasing role in research – helping with prevention, monitoring, diagnosis and treatment of multiple conditions, as well as advancing our scientific understanding of how the body functions. As a result, a larger and more diverse pool of researchers needs to be equipped with the skills to accurately analyse and securely manage often complex and sensitive imaging data.

This training is not a traditional part of most scientists’ curriculum, so it can be an entry barrier for many scientists to get started with research involving imaging. Health and Bioscience IDEAS will provide essential skills training in these areas and will also nurture a community of existing and new researchers, with the aim of stimulating more collaborations.

Health and Bioscience IDEAS lead, Dr David Cash (Principal Research Fellow at the Dementia Research Centre, UCL Queen Square Institute Of Neurology), said: “I’m so thrilled and honoured that the UKRI awarded our grant, which will provide world-class training to UK researchers on how they can better incorporate imaging data into their research.

“As datasets become larger and analysis techniques become more complex, having effective strategies to handle and process these data sets will be critical for researchers to get the most out of their imaging data. To help solve this, we have created a great team that combines experts in medical imaging research with fantastic educators in software and engineering.

“Together we will provide a wide range of training programs for all researchers interested in using medical imaging, from people just getting started to advanced users, so that everyone can have more confidence in their imaging research.”

Prof Geoff Parker (Health and Bioscience IDEAS co-investigator, based in the Centre for Medical Image Computing and Translational Deputy Director, UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering) said: “This award is fantastic news as it allows us to build on the capabilities that we have been developing within the Centre for Medical Image Computing and more broadly at UCL for managing small and large-scale imaging data sets.

“By helping educate individuals who want to use such infrastructure, or who are interested in setting up similar capabilities, we will be ensuring best practice is followed by everyone involved. Our audience will hopefully be spread far and wide geographically, so we anticipate making a difference to a large number of research projects in the UK and further afield.”

The award was part of a wider £10million funding initiative to boost health and bioscience skills and industry. UKRI Director of Talent and Skills Rory Duncan said: “This new funding underlines UKRI’s commitment to investing in people and talent. Not only will it provide training opportunities for researchers looking to gain experience of, and share their ideas with a different sector, it will enable researchers at different starting levels and career stages to develop their skills and gain the confidence to manage and analyse their data. This will increase UK capacity in data management and analysis within the health and bio sciences and help to address emerging areas of importance.”

Read more about the funding initiative on UKRI’s website here and Health and Bioscience IDEAS website here.