COVID - Curated and open analysis and research platform


CO-CONNECT was a research project to help scientists across the UK to access the data they need more easily to help develop potential therapies and treatment for COVID-19. It was funded by the Medical Research Council (Part of UKRI) and the Department of Health and Social Care (part of NIHR) as part of their direct response to the Pandemic.

CO-CONNECT ran between October 2020 and October 2022.

Data Partners

"Building a network to ensure COVID-19 immunity can be understood by linking leading serology collections from across the United Kingdom"

Why was CO-CONNECT needed?​

COVID-19 data has been generated across the UK as a by-product of clinical care and public health provision, and numerous bespoke and repurposed research endeavours. Analysis of these data has underpinned the UK’s response to the pandemic and informed public health policies and clinical guidelines. However, these data are held by different organisations and this fragmented landscape has presented challenges for policymakers, public health agencies and researchers as they struggle to find, navigate permissions to access, and interrogate the data they need to inform the pandemic response at pace. 

CO-CONNECT was established to help researchers find and access data at pace.

To achieve this we:

Standardised antibody data collection across the UK

Configured an infrastructure which enables trustworthy, fast, de-identified, secure analysis of data sets from across multiple sources

Investigated how to answer key questions about immunity to COVID-19 and the implications for patient outcomes.  

A Collaborative Project:

CO-CONNECT was led by University of Nottingham with a team of four Principal Investigators with complementary NHS/academic skills across public health, technology and science.  The project has built a strong collaboration of over 40 leaders in their respective fields from across 20 organisations across the UK. Visit our Partners Page to find out more. 

Principal Investigators:

Phil Quinlan

University of Nottingham

Dr. Quinlan is the Head of the Digital Research Service at the University of Nottingham and Co-Director of the UKCRC Tissue Directory and Coordination Centre

Emily Jefferson

University of Dundee

Professor Jefferson is the Academic Lead and Director of the Health Informatics Centre at the University of Dundee and a Professor in Health Data Science.

Susan Hopkins

Public Health England

Professor Susan Hopkins is the Senior Medical Advisor at Public Health England and the lead for the SIREN study.

Aziz Sheikh

University of Edinburgh

Professor Sheikh is Director of the Usher Institute. He is also Director of the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research (AUKCAR)

Key Partnerships


Health Data Research (HDR) UK has transformed the UK landscape in health data science. CO-CONNECT has been formed from many of the existing locations of HDR UK, from HDR Midlands and HDR Scotland forming the backbone of the CO-CONNET technical team. We have been working with our key collaborating partner, Health Data Research UK, to ensure all the datasets associated with CO-CONNECT are discoverable in the Innovation Gateway and that request can be accessed from this portal.



The UKCRC Tissue Directory and Coordination Centre (TDCC) is a the national centre for biobanks. As such it has been in instrumental in developing the tools and know-how that have lead into CO-CONNECT. The engagement team from TDCC are supporting this effort to build long term relationships with the community. The technology being used was first used by TDCC and HDR UK in 2018 as a pilot across four cohorts.

BC Platforms

BC Platforms are our main technical partner who supply the software that drives the federated search. We are utilising their BC|RQuest, BC|Link and BC|Insight tools to help deliver a scalable, secure and powerful data discovery and analytics package to enable the datasets to be brought together without all the data having to reside in a single location.


BREATHE is a collaboration with patients and publics, UK Universities, third sector, Government organisations and industry from across the UK and globally. The Hub is led by The University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London, University of Leicester, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, Queen Mary University of London and Swansea University. BREATHE is the perfect partner for CO-CONNECT as it brings the wealth of experience in longitudinal respiratory datasets.​