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Public Health Research Data Forum

The Wellcome Trust has been working with a variety of partners to support data sharing among epidemiological and public health researchers.

In May 2010, we held a joint workshop with the Hewlett Foundation in Washington DC, at which representatives of major funders of public health research, international organisations, large research studies and journals discussed how to increase sharing of public health research data. The workshop built on discussions at the global ministerial forum on research for health at Bamako (Mali) in November 2008, and wide-ranging consultations with stakeholders.

In light of the discussions in Washington, several major funders have signed up to a joint statement of purpose through which they commit to work together to increase the availability of public health research data. The funders have established working groups to further the principles and goals set out in the statement.

Latest Forum activities

Joint Statement of Purpose

The Forum has its basis in a joint statement launched on 10 January 2011, with a comment piece in 'The Lancet' by Wellcome Trust director Mark Walport and Hewlett Foundation president Paul Brest.

Signatories to the statement include major public funding agencies, charitable foundations and international organisations.

See the full list of signatories and supporting organisations

We are committed to engaging as broad a base of funders in these discussions as possible, and the statement will remain open for other funding organisations to join as signatories and partners over time.

If your organisation would like to become a partner in this initiative, please contact David Carr at the Wellcome Trust.


The partners in this initiative have established a Public Health Research Data Forum as a basis for further discussion and coordination of activities to further the goals set out in the joint statement.

The partners are taking forward several joint activities to address key challenges facing the research community in increasing access to public health and epidemiology research data. These activities focus on three main areas:

  • capacity and skills
  • culture and incentives
  • infrastructure and tools.

Work developed to date has included commissioned research on emerging tools for data citation and a project to explore options for building capacity and skills in data management and sharing in low- and middle-income countries.

Initiatives in development include work to enhance the use of metadata standards, to develop common policy principles and guidance, and to build the evidence base on the perspectives of participants and other research stakeholders on data sharing. Further information on these activities will be provided as these projects move forward.

We would welcome feedback at any time from the community with respect to priorities for this work. If you would like to share your views, please contact David Carr at the Wellcome Trust.

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