Health and Bioscience IDEAS is an innovative new training scheme funded with generous support from the UKRI Innovation Scholars: Data Science Training in Health & Bioscience (DaSH) funding scheme.

Why imaging?

Imaging has become an important research tool across the whole spectrum of health and bioscience research - from basic science laboratory work to large-scale clinical research studies. Imaging data is so valuable because, unlike most other laboratory and clinical measurements, it provides unique in vivo information about anatomy and function at the millimetre scale, often in a fully non-invasive way.

While bio/medical imaging offers substantial benefits to researchers, the complexity of the imaging methods themselves, as well as the analysis methods used to process the resulting imaging data, create ‘entry barriers’ for those without previous experience in working with these imaging modalities. Our training programme will lower these barriers, which include:

  • Scalable IT requirements are needed to handle the large amounts of data collected with imaging. If the researchers are managing the data themselves, the data storage requirements may far outstrip their IT expertise and capability.
  • Security challenges arise if the data is not stored properly. Imaging data often contains personal data, so EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will apply, with data breaches being significant risks given the possible fines and loss of reputation.
  • Difficulties understanding what the imaging modality is measuring. In many cases, lack of clarity in terms of what the data represents can cause misinterpretation of the results.
  • Steep learning curves with specialist software packages that are needed to open and interact with the data, particularly as the imaging data becomes more complex with multi-channel and multi-modal information about a single individual.
  • Complexity when handling multi-user, multi-contributor access for collaborative projects across sites where ensuring correct and compartmentalised access is paramount.
  • Complex file transfer protocols when transferring data from a hospital.
  • Complex file formats and metadata, which can be proprietary or have vendor-dependent implementations, are needed to accurately represent the images


The primary aim of the Heath and Bioscience IDEAS is to provide a flexible training program that promotes and facilitates “imaging literacy” among health and bioscience researchers that will develop a firm understanding of the theoretical principles and practical requirements of imaging, so that they can make informed choices about how to use imaging data in their own research.

To that aim, we are developing a core curriculum along three main themes:

  1. Image acquisition and analysis

  2. Software development

  3. Data management

We will deliver courses both through in-person training, both as standalone short courses and “taster sessions” that are part of larger workshops/conferences, and through online and virual courses. We will further optimise and tailoring the content based on the audience and the experience level. The courses will cover a broad range of expertise from those researchers who are new to imaging to those more advanced users looking to develop new skills and train individuals at their own institutions.