Head of Data Platforms
Senior +1 · Full time
Posted 8 months ago

About Our Future Health

Our Future Health will be the UK’s largest ever health research programme, bringing people together to develop new ways to detect, prevent and treat diseases. We are a charity, supported by the UK Government, in partnership with charities and industry. We work closely with the NHS and with public authorities across all nations and regions of the UK. Despite big improvements in healthcare in our lifetimes, today millions of people in the UK still live in poor health as they get older. Diseases like cancer, dementia, diabetes, and heart disease affect the lives of many people in our communities. Our goal is to create a world-leading resource for health research, to improve our understanding and spot the patterns of how and why common diseases start, so treatments can begin sooner and be more effective. Our plan is to bring together 5 million volunteers from right across the UK who will be asked to contribute information to help build one of the most detailed pictures we have ever had of people’s health. Researchers will be able to use this information to make new discoveries about human health and diseases. So future generations can live in good health for longer.

Summary of the role’s main purpose:

This is a new role to take the lead across data platforms for Our Future Health as part of our growing technology team, working with the current team of three data scientists and engineers and helping scale the team significantly. This will be a role with an inspiring set of data challenges, for what will eventually be a comprehensive view of the health of 5M people in the UK, including directly gathered information, genetics, NHS records and other linked data. As well as our primary data store, where we’ll be responsible for quality, coding, standardisation, cleaning, linking, ingestion, we will operate a trusted research environment to allow research groups with approved projects to conduct their science and research in a safe and secure environment. Researchers will not be able to export individual-level data but need to be able to export their results and models, and they can also apply to run secondary studies with subsets of the cohort. Our Future Health will be recruiting new participants at a rapid rate over the next few years, and over this period we’ll need to ensure reliable and repeatable automation of data processes, running operations such as ingestion and linkage of multiple NHS datasets, ingestion and processing of genetic data, procurement, configuration, testing and launch of our trusted research environment.

You will also act as a technical authority on our data processes and therefore be involved in discussions and negotiations with research partners from universities, charities and industry, as well as initiatives around the world similar to our own and related organisations including the NHS. This will suit someone who is comfortable negotiating agreements, managing budgets and strategy, as well as having the deep understanding of health data systems at a technical level. There will be a strong focus on security and data governance required: we anticipate moving into an environment where we achieve compliance with standards like ISO27001, CyberEssentials Plus and the NHS Data Security and Protection Toolkit.

Within the organisation we’d expect this person to build strong relationships with the other technology groups – architecture and software engineering, technical operations – as well as our epidemiology, behavioural science and study operations teams. Currently we are a small organisation of around 40 people, with a total of just 5 in technology as well as an outsourced team with a partner agency, but over the next year the technology group needs to expand significantly, and so we’re looking for a strong track record in hiring and building a great team.

We have an office in central London and a team that is hybrid, with some working fully remotely and attending in-person sessions monthly, and others based in London working flexibly from the office or home.


Main responsibilities:

  • Lead the data platforms team at Our Future Health, as part of the technology group. The team will include skilled data scientists, data engineers, data managers, analysts and wranglers.
  • Responsible for the quality and structure, alongside our architecture group, of data in our primary data store, including coding and standards for clinical, genomic and other health datasets, clear metadata and data dictionaries
  • Lead ongoing operations to ingest, link, process and clean data from multiple sources including national NHS datasets from across the UK, alongside our technical operations team
  • Responsible for the presentation of data in the trusted research environment to enable the global scientific community to undertake their research, as well as the sharing or federation of data across multiple accredited trusted research environments, and the processes for export of results and models working closely with our architecture & engineering group
  • Owner for the data processes for secondary studies conducted with subsets of the Our Future Health cohort, and the associated transfer of data in both directions, as well as generally the return of research results data into the central resource
  • Enable the organisation to plan and grow through the creation of dashboards, analysis platforms for internal science teams and timely delivery of business intelligence and metrics
  • Work alongside our epidemiology and governance teams to manage and create new data partnerships
  • Work alongside our product, design and engineering teams to manage web content and processes for the research community, including processes to register researchers and the workflow around the approval of research projects with our access review committee
  • Maintain relationships with research partners across universities, charities and industry across regular advisory group and stakeholder sessions


Technical skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours

We’re looking for candidates with a mix of these experiences:

  • Leadership
    • Team leadership, with experience attracting and recruiting great data scientists and engineers to form a gelled team
    • Successful collaborative negotiations and discussions with partners and suppliers
    • Budget management and reporting responsibility
  • Technology
    • Grounding in data science, statistical processing, machine learning, bioinformatics or similar hands-on data skills
    • Experience working in a healthcare domain processing large scale clinical or genomics data is essential
    • Familiar with standards in health data such as FHIR, OMOP, SNOMED, DICOM
    • Modern understanding of cloud data processing tools, big data platforms, architectures for automated deployment and processing of pipelines, relational and object storage systems
  • Operations and Process
    • Experience scaling live data operations, large-scale pipelines for data processing, ETL processes, linkage
    • Focus on data quality, reproducible processes, automation
    • Strong understanding of data governance and regulations, de-identification and anonymisation techniques, awareness of cybersecurity risks
    • Experience working in an environment working under standards like ISO27001, or under medical device regulations would be a bonus
  • Attitudes and Behaviours
    • Happy to take ownership and initiative in an ambiguous and fast moving environment
    • Excellent communicator in person and in writing; effective presenter
    • Evidence of strategic thinking and tackling the harder issues
    • Focus on nurturing and building a team, working collaboratively across a multidisciplinary organisation


  • Competitive salary
  • Company pension package
  • 30 days annual holiday allowance
  • Must have Right to Work in the UK
  • We have an office in central London. We will be open to discussing various flexible and remote working arrangements but even for remote workers we'd expect monthly visits to our London office.

Working with us

We actively encourage applications from people of all backgrounds and cultures. It is vital that a diverse range of people participate in Our Future Health so we can help make discoveries that benefit everyone. We believe that a diverse workforce will help us to achieve that goal.

Join us and become part of the UK’s largest ever health research programme, bringing people together to develop new ways to detect, prevent and treat diseases.

Let’s prevent disease together.

Our Future Health
Helping future generations live in good health for longer
Size:  11-50 employees
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