NIHR | Manchester Biomedical Research Centre

Digital Infrastructure

The Digital Infrastructure (DI) programme is a key component of Manchester BRC’s core infrastructure. The DI team of research data engineers, statisticians, software engineers and wearables experts, provides support across four broad areas: access to data, software engineering, data science, and translation of health technologies to clinical practice.

1. Access to data from: population-based electronic health records, deep clinical phenotypes, the NIHR Health Informatics Collaborative (HIC)

Enabling access to electronic health records and other routinely collected NHS data from both primary care and Manchester BRC partner Trusts.

Greater Manchester Care Record (GMCR)

The GMCR research platform was developed during the Covid-19 pandemic and provided essential granular de-identified linked data from primary and secondary care data including hospital admissions. This platform became the blueprint for the new Greater Manchester Secure Data Environment (GM-SDE) and is being decommissioned as part of the transition to the GM-SDE programme. More information and a list of projects and publications which used the GM Care Record research platform can be found here.

Greater Manchester Secure Data Environment (GM-SDE)

We are the lead academic partner on the GM-SDE in collaboration with Health Innovation Manchester and the GM Integrated Care Board. The GM-SDE will be the city’s gateway to access de-identified electronic health data for research. Greater Manchester is one of the first regions in the country to realise this. Researcher access to the GM-SDE is expected in 2024.

NHS Trust data

We work with NHS clinical data science and informatics teams at our partner Trusts to provide researchers with access to deep phenotypic information from hospital electronic patient records (EPRs).

NIHR Health Informatics Collaborative (HIC)

The Digital Infrastructure team coordinates Manchester’s activities with the national HIC across a range of clinical areas (e.g. hearing health, cardiovascular): including programme management, information governance, data extraction and transfer, and data analysis.

For more information on Manchester’s HIC activities, visit the NIHR Health Informatics Collaborative website or email

FAIR Principles

In line with the Principles for Data Standards set out by Health Data Research UK (HDR UK), we collaborate with our partner Trusts, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and the Greater Manchester Integrated Care Partnership to improve the Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reuse (FAIR) of digital assets.

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust and Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are members of the HDR UK Alliance.

2. Digital health software (DHS) engineering

The DHS is a team of highly experienced research software engineers and designers who work across a portfolio of digital health software projects. The team has strong capabilities in collecting and analysing patient generated health data for research using smartphones and wearable sensors to study rhythms of wellbeing and disease.

3. Access to data science expertise

We have several experienced data scientists and statisticians in our team, who can input into the design of analytical studies, and potentially assist with the analysis of complex datasets, for example electronic health records and wearable sensor data. Our focus is on methods for clinical outcome prediction, and the application of those methods to solve real-world health research questions. The group has expertise in statistical modelling methods, and we collaborate closely with other researchers from mathematics and computer science departments across the country.

4. Translational support via The Christabel Pankhurst Institute

The Digital Infrastructure team is hosted by the Pankhurst Institute for Health Technology Research and Innovation, working together with Manchester BRC on joint translational research activities and the development of health solutions that will benefit patients and address local healthcare needs across Greater Manchester.