Big Data Ethics Forum: Mental health data ethics working group: Ethical challenges in the MRC Pathfinder project

The research community holds and generates huge swathes of biological, clinical, social and environmental data. The challenge is how best to select and analyse the data to help unlock better diagnosis, treatment and ultimately prevention of mental health conditions. The MRC Pathfinder programme looks to tackle this head on, helping build the systems, infrastructure and insight that will help researchers make the best use of Big Data.

University of Oxford’s Mental Health Data Ethics Leadership group (MhDEL), based across the Department of Psychiatry and Big Data Institute, has been established to provide expertise in ethics and law for supporting Oxford’s work in Pathfinder. At this inaugural MhDEL meeting members of the Pathfinder team will raise and discuss ethical and governance challenges that they are currently facing in areas including data linkage, consent, de- and re-identification.