Iain Buchan is a public health and informatics research leader.
He founded and led Manchester University's health informatics group, raising over £100m of research grants from 2003 to 2017, and co-founded the UK's national health data research facility. After a year at Microsoft Research shaping a 10-year view of how AI might transform healthcare, he is developing a new research programme at the University of Liverpool. In this next phase, Iain is addressing the need for public health interventions in the evolving digital connections and AI that can organise the efforts of society, intentionally or not.
He has foresight: in the 90's he built systems to bridge primary-secondary care workflows. Most recently, he originated www.connectedhealthcities.org and drove #DataSavesLives, paving the way for NHS local integrated care partnerships and digital innovation hubs.
He conceived e-Lab and Research Object thinking to augment team science. He works between health and computer sciences disruptively. He writes statistical software (www.statsdirect.com) and publishes in technical journals. He spun out social enterprises such as: www.nweh.org.uk for clinical trials embedded in NHS digital workflows. He conceived the avatar or digital twin for predictive healthcare that is now an industry quest.
He champions interdisciplinary problem-solving: e.g. he drove a combination of biostatistical and machine learning approaches for discovering disease endotypes, which led to notable discoveries long before (clinical) epidemiologists took this now popular methodology seriously.
He pursues social epidemiology to inform policy, for example via widely-cited papers on England’s geographical disparities in wealth, mortality, morbidity and public investment.
In 2012 Iain was elected to Fellowship of the American College of Medical Informatics. In 2013 his team was awarded an MRC Centre (www.herc.ac.uk), from where he co-directed the national Farr Institute (www.farrinstitute.org), which became Health Data Research UK. In 2017 he became a Founding Fellow of the UK’s Faculty of Clinical Informatics, and in 2018 he was elected NIHR Senior Investigator.
Prizes or Honours
- Manchester Ambassador (Greater Manchester Combined Authority, 2014)
- Senior Investigator (National Institute for Health Research, 2018)
- Founding Fellow (Faculty of Clinical Informatics, 2017)
- Fellow (British Computer Society, 2017)
- Fellow (American College of Medical Informatics, 2012)
- Fellow (Faculty of Public Health, 2006)
Other Personal Distinctions
- Governor (Alder Hey Hospital, 2018)
- Honorary Professor (University of Manchester, 2017)
- Methodology Advisory Group Member (MRC and NIHR, 2016)
- Honorary Professor (Imperial College London, 2015)