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The Alan Turing Institute (the Turing) and the British Heart Foundation (BHF) invite proposals from cross-disciplinary teams of researchers working in partnership to apply data science approaches to challenges faced in cardiovascular research.

The call opens on 11 March 2019.

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Cardiovascular disease kills around one in four people in the UK, taking the lives of more than 100 people under 75 every day, and affects the daily life of 7 million people. Modern data science offers new ways of gaining valuable insight into the aetiology and treatment of cardiovascular disease, towards ending the devastation that it causes.

Over recent years we have experienced a transition into an era of digital medicine, typified by advances in technology and an exponential increase in the generation of new datasets, many of which are characterised by their volume, variety and complexity. Such datasets include, but are not limited to, molecular data generated by ‘omics technologies, medical imaging data and health data derived from patient records.

The application of data science approaches and innovative analyses of these datasets have the exciting potential to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of patients across medical disciplines. Conscious that responsible medical research requires patient privacy and anonymity to be upheld, data science innovations around privacy and anonymisation are also an important contribution to this field.

See the projects previously awarded BHF-Turing funding.


This joint call between the BHF and the Turing aims to catalyse productive collaborations between cardiovascular investigators and specialist data scientists. It is designed to enable groups of researchers with complementary skills and expertise to explore opportunities at the nexus of cardiovascular research and data science research. 

Proposals are invited from multi-disciplinary teams for small (≤£50,000) or medium scale (£50,000-£150,000) projects  with a demonstrable synergy between data scientist(s) and cardiovascular investigator(s). Proposals must be innovative in nature, utilise existing data (that is fully consented and anonymised) and clearly explain the potential impacts of the work for cardiovascular and data science.

The research undertaken may include foundational research (where the aim is to generate new knowledge and understanding in cardiovascular science) or focus on translational application. While applicants may seek to address or contribute to the addressing of any cardiovascular challenge(s) that would benefit from data science approaches, the following areas have been identified as particularly important:

  • Data access
  • Privacy and anonymisation
  • Machine learning
  • Image analysis
  • Modelling, and statistical modelling
  • Exploitation of advanced computing 


All proposals must be co-led by one cardiovascular investigator and one data scientist. At least one of the PIs must be a senior academic researcher with a strong track record of grant support and research outputs. Projects must start by 31 December 2019.   

For the purposes of this call, the following institutional eligibility criteria apply: 

Cardiovascular researchers: Lead applicants must hold an appointment at an established UK academic institution with significant cardiovascular research activity. Additional cardiovascular investigators without academic affiliation may participate, but may not lead.

Data scientists: Lead applicants must be either Turing Fellows, Turing Research Fellows or situated at one of the Turing’s university partners. Additional scientists who are not directly involved with the Turing or its founding university partners may participate in the research team, but may not lead. 

The BHF and the Turing are actively committed to promoting equality and diversity.  

Funding available

Most applications are expected to be for small scoping or pilot projects (up to £50K) but applicants may submit proposals for up to £150,000 direct costs for projects of 6-24 months in duration. Further details on eligible costs are available in the guidance notes documentation.

How to apply

All applications must be made online via the Turing’s Flexigrant portal:

Although projects must be led by two co-PIs, one from cardiovascular research and one from data science, the application form should be submitted from a Flexigrant account of a single Lead Applicant, with offline input from the co-PI and other collaborators.  This is an administrative consideration; if the application is successful, both co-PIs will be recognised in the award letter.

Applications must be submitted no later than Midday on 10 May 2019.

Only applications submitted through the Turing’s Flexigrant system will be accepted for processing. The application submitted through Flexigrant will be taken to be the final version, and will be the version used for assessment. 

Key dates

  • Joint BHF-Turing workshop: 25 February 2019
  • Opening date for applications: 11 March 2019
  • Closing date for applications: 12:00 GMT 10 May 2019
  • Review panel meeting: July 2019
  • Application outcome notification: Mid-September 2019
  • Projects must start between 1 October 2019 and 31 December 2019


Joint British Heart Foundation/Turing workshop - 25 February 2019

The Alan Turing Institute, British Library, London

Researchers who are interested in applying for funding are invited to attend this event. The objective of this workshop is to inspire collaboration between cardiovascular investigators and specialist data scientists, by introducing the communities to each other’s resources, capabilities and needs.

It is hoped that this event will catalyse new collaborations as well as provide an opportunity for discussion and refinement of existing research ideas.

You do not need to attend the workshop in order to submit an application for research funding.


For questions regarding the application process or other elements of the call, or cardiovascular researchers looking for Turing-based data science collaborators, please contact: Catherine Lawrence ([email protected]), Senior Programme Manager (The Alan Turing Institute).