Iain Buchan

Professor of Public Health and Clinical Informatics at University of Liverpool



Iain Buchan is a research leader in public health and informatics.

He founded and led Manchester University’s health informatics group, raising over £100m of research grants, and co-founding the UK’s main health data research facility. After a year at Microsoft Research shaping a 10-year view of how AI might transform healthcare, he is forging new informatics research for health & society at the University of Liverpool.

He has foresight: in the 90’s he built systems to bridge primary-secondary care workflows. Most recently he originated www.connectedhealthcities.org pilots and drove #DataSavesLives, paving the way for NHS local integrated care partnerships and digital innovation hubs.

He originated 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.