The world’s most advanced institute for disease analytics opened at Imperial this autumn, thanks to the philanthropic partnership of Community Jameel.

The Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics (J-IDEA) was launched in October 2019 to harness cutting-edge data science to combat global health emergencies.

Through real-time analysis and modelling, researchers at J-IDEA will shape interventions to control infectious diseases such as Ebola and Zika virus, and to counter the rise of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease around the world. Their work will also help to improve the resilience of healthcare systems when faced with emergencies such as epidemic outbreaks or natural disasters.

Although great advances have been made in global health over the past decades, significant health threats remain. Infectious diseases, epidemics and rising levels of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease put the health of hundreds of millions at risk. Governments around the world are investing in better health – but with budgets constrained, it is critical that resources are used in the most effective way.

By bringing together the world’s foremost epidemiologists, biostatisticians and data statisticians with medics, policymakers and aid workers, the institute will accelerate the development of effective and affordable health programmes, especially in low and middle-income countries.

Data analysis from J-IDEA will provide the evidence that governments and international organisations need to target health interventions – and limited healthcare budgets – for the maximum impact. For example, J-IDEA researchers are providing real-time analysis on the current Ebola outbreak, predicting future numbers of cases and advising partners in international organisations and governments on how to bring it under control.

J-IDEA is cofounded by Community Jameel, the global philanthropy established in 2003 to promote global social and economic development. Fady Jameel, President, International, of Community Jameel, said: “J-IDEA will serve as a beacon for the power of health data analytics, transforming lives locally and across the world. We are proud to support such important and urgent work.”

Professor Neil Ferguson, Director of J-IDEA, said: “Over the last 20 years, we have seen an explosive growth in data, covering almost every dimension of human life and activity. For global health researchers, this represents an unprecedented opportunity. At J-IDEA we will cut through the noise, drawing out actionable information and driving effective and affordable policy responses that will transform the health of communities around the world.”

The Community Jameel gift to establish J-IDEA is part of Imperial College’s £100 million Transforming Health and Wellbeing campaign to support a new School of Public Health at the College’s White City Campus.

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