Policy

Through its activities in the life and medical sciences, the CLMS has become influential in the field of science policy. Our remit has included both the direction of governmental scientific funding, and the provision of expert advice to policy makers and stakeholders as we approach the era of e-health and personalized medicine. Our view is that, with the rapid advance of computational technologies, the field of science policy needs to take full account of the truly transformational changes that can be affected by computational science, especially in respect of healthcare. The specific areas in which the CLMS has been active hitherto include the following:

e-Health and Personalized Medicine

Our involvement in major initiatives such as the EU FP7 Virtual Physiological Human (VPH), is paving the way to a transformation in healthcare, towards a personalized in silico approach.
Our membership in the VPH Policy Affairs Working Group has raised the profile of personalized medicine at the level of the EU Parliament and Commission. We have worked in conjunction with Rohde Public Policy to devise a contact programme with a number of influential MEPs and Commissioners. This effort has resulted, in the first instance, in an event planned for the end of June aimed to raise awareness about VPH which will be hosted in the EU parliament. This activity is highly relevant as the coming EU funding agenda for healthcare is being formed.
Our efforts to engage with industry, including Microsoft and Unilever, are also likely to catalyse the movement towards personalized healthcare. Our direct and active participation in many UK, EU and international projects both in terms of science and the requirements on infrastructure projects has been highly influential in molding the latter to suit the purposes of the former.
The CLMS director is a co-Investigator in the Centre for Health service and Academic Partnership in Translational E-Health Research (CHAPTER), which is one of four e-Health Informatics Research Centres funded by the MRC. The CLMS building on this affiliation to advise on a partnership between UCL and UCLP, which would be of paramount importance to accelerate scientific discoveries that can be translated to healthcare.

UK e-Infrastructure

The CLMS Director’s membership in governmental bodies (e.g., the UK e-Infrastructure Leadership Council and the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology) is a highly influential position and has helped ensure that the UK is up-to-date in its e-infrastructure strategy. E-Infrastructure comprises a trinity of hardware, software, and skills; where due consideration should be given to all three elements. Whereas BIS had been primarily targeting its policies of stimulating the economy to relatively well-established industries, we have been successful in persuading Government to include the more forward-looking healthcare sector in its purview, to substantial effect.
We are also involved with the planning activities of the nascent Francis Crick Institute, advising on the overall e-infrastructure strategy. The FCI has strategic position as a consortium of six of the UK's most successful scientific and academic organisations (MRC, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust, UCL, Imperial College London and King's College London). A well-informed computing strategy in what is expected to be the a world-leading biomedical research institute is likely to strengthen the UK's position in the computational and medical sciences.

Science Funding

The CLMS has been active and successful in directing UK and EU funding to support our computational scientific endeavours. From the original £165M allocated by Willetts in October 2011, UCL has picked up a £3.87M grant to establish the Tier-2 Centre for Innovation. We are advising MRC on new opportunities in systems and computational biomedicine which may lead to substantial financial investments in the near future. Also relevant is the establishment of a new Scientific Computing Group and IS-based Software Development Team within UCL, also initiated in part by CLMS to support researchers in the life and medical sciences.
We are working closely with UK Government (via the ELC and CST) to encourage policies and funding which support forward looking initiatives that fund research and innovation within biomedicine and e-health. This comes after the recent allocation of £189 of government capital funds to 'Big Data' , which is the largest proportion of the £600M announced in the Autumn Statement of 2012. Of the latter sum, £55M has fed into current MRC calls and initiatives in areas of computational biomedical informatics, which they have not been engaged in before.
Additionally, our lobbying activities at the EU level (refer to the section on e-health and personalized medicine) serve the purpose of ensuring that computational biomedicine continues to receive substantial funds in the coming years.

Research Data Interoperability

Our vision is that the interoperability of research data is crucial to the achievement of Open Science. CLMS members are active within several EU-funded projects such as PRACE (http://www.prace-project.eu/), EGI (http://www.egi.eu/) and EUDAT (http://www.eudat.eu/). One ongoing effort we are active in is the establishment of a Task Force that aims to bring PRACE, EGI,and EUDAT into closer collaboration for the purpose of managing data across all three infrastructures. We have also been involved in the emerging Research Data Alliance, which aims to establish a global research infrastructure that allows for data interoperability, with massive scientific and economical benefits. Our primary area of focus is patient data. CLMS members are active in both the technical and political aspects of data interoperability, and this dual presence gives us the perspective and knowledge required for such an aim.

International Research Collaboration & Interdisciplinary Science

Our networking efforts are bridging gaps among traditionally disparate research domains and research institutes. We are actively involved in forming collaborations with Yale, the Max Planck Society, within Qatar and, most recently, Japan. This effort aligns with our vision of an open and collaborative science base and aims to provide UCL with visibility on the international stage, from which it is ideally placed to occupy an increasingly influential role globally.