Manchester Clinical Data Science Unit

Making high-quality healthcare data work for professional and patient benefit 

The Manchester Clinical Data Science Unit (CDSU) makes high-quality healthcare data work for professional and patient benefit. We ensure that data is safely and efficiently designed to enable researchers to make the most of this valuable resource in delivering cutting-edge research and innovation.

CDSU is a team of data specialists working in accordance with national and European regulations and legislation to ensure personal healthcare data and information is used safely, securely, and respectfully. Utilising the large amounts of patient data at MFT helps us plan healthcare, to make sure that patients are treated fairly and to discover new trends about health and disease.  There is also an opportunity to use this information for research and innovation to make healthcare better in the future.

We collaborate with partners including NHS colleagues, data guardians, academics, regulators, practitioners, members of the public, industry, funders, and policymakers from across MFT, Greater Manchester, nationally, and internationally to improve health and social care through the use of safe and secure data.

Initially established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as a secure data environment to support access to Electronic Health Records for research, it has evolved into MFT’s comprehensive virtual centre for the secure handling, processing, and linking of data from multiple sources and the hosting, storage and management of longitudinal data.

CDSU is led by Dr Anthony Wilson, Consultant in anaesthesia and critical care at Manchester Royal Infirmary, and Claire Macdonald, Head of Delivery, supported by a team of data analysts and engineers.

CDSU Values

All programmes and projects conducted by CDSU follow our core values to ensure we make healthcare data work for professional and patient benefit:

  • Respecting and safeguarding privacy and maintaining trust
  • Being open and transparent
  • Taking our responsibilities seriously and acting professionally
  • Delivering an exemplary experience to our stakeholders
  • Using our resources efficiently and effectively
  • Aiming to be a Centre of Excellence and the best at everything we do
  • CDSU values the role of the NHS and its staff in delivering and utilising high quality health care data for research and innovation

How can CDSU help you?

CDSU offers services for clinicians, researchers, industry, and patients:

Styles of data access provided for each type of activity

Where a project has already received permissions to have data sent to an external secure environment, this will be shared via a secure, approved process and will be accompanied by a contract and data sharing agreement which has been ratified prior to the project beginning, setting out terms and conditions of what the data may, or may not, be used for and other rules, such as when data must be destroyed.

Projects only using an internal secure environment will have their data made available via MFTs approved processes and in an environment which is available only to those who have permission to work on it.

Data access process

  • Any deviations from standard data access process (e.g. where there are multiple data controllers)
  • If a project does not fall under the remit of CDSU devolved approvals for data projects, applicants will need to seek other types of approval (e.g. project-specific REC).


Contact Us

If you are a researcher or healthcare company and would like to find out more about how CDSU can make data work for you, please contact