Honorary informatics Professor joins elite group directing NHS research priorities

Posted on March 19, 2018

Iain Buchan

As a result of his work at The University of Manchester, former director of the Health eResearch Centre and current head of healthcare at Microsoft, Prof. Iain Buchan has been selected for one of the research community’s highest honours.

As Senior Investigator for the NHS’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Prof. Buchan will provide research leadership and join a specially selected group of leading scientists offering advice to the Department of Health’s Chief Scientific Adviser.

NIHR Senior Investigators are chosen in an annual competition that considers the nominee’s research expertise, its relevance to patients and public and the impact of their research on healthcare. The decision to appoint Buchan cements his place as one of the leading minds in the health technology sector.

Prof. Buchan said: “I am delighted to have been selected as NIHR Senior Investigator, bridging world-leading AI innovation at Microsoft Research in Cambridge with NIHR’s international leadership in healthcare research. The award will further enhance the close partnership I have with colleagues at The University of Manchester.

It is heartening to see how the city has embedded informatics into the heart of its health capabilities and the impact this is now having in terms of lives saved. This is particularly evident in the Connected Health Cities programme, as well as the underpinning work delivered by the MRC Health eResearch Centre for the NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre and the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre.”


Prof. John Ainsworth, Director of the Health eResearch Centre and Connected Health Cities at The University of Manchester said: “NIHR Senior Investigator is one of the most prestigious personal awards for health researchers and I am delighted that Iain has received this well-deserved accolade. The award recognises the high impact work that Iain led here in Manchester and in which myself and many of my team were involved. We look forward to continue working with Iain and delivering powerful research that delivers direct patient benefit from data and technology.”


Prof. Buchan will not be paid for his work as Senior Investigator. Instead, the NIHR will instead support the NHS and The University of Manchester to collaborate with his team.

Prof. Buchan has spent more than 25 years looking at how data can be used to improve patient care and public health, and his 15-year role at The University of Manchester allowed him to build a 100-strong health informatics research team that is internationally respected.

He said: “Conventional healthcare sees only the data from episodes of care, blind to the full journey of a patient’s health that connected technologies and better models of personal health could reveal.”

“By providing a fuller picture of patient journeys, we can help patients to self-care and communities to self-organise for better health. This high-resolution approach could provide more timely, personalised care and help target scarce clinical resources to the neediest patients – key to better value healthcare.”