Taking part

Help everyone live longer and healthier lives and learn new information about your own health
Join Our Future Health

If you are over 18 and live in the UK, you can join today

Every adult living in the UK is eligible to join Our Future Health, including people with pre-existing health conditions. By taking part in Our Future Health, you’ll support new discoveries that will help everyone live longer and healthier lives. You’ll also have the chance to find out more about your own health and future risk of disease.

Video

Joining Our Future Health is easy

Watch this video to learn more about joining the programme

What’s involved in taking part and why it’s important

Joining the programme consists of three main steps

1. Read and sign our consent form

You’ll be asked to read information about Our Future Health and confirm that you agree to take part. This step gives us permission to securely access health-related records about you.

5 to 15 minutes

2. Fill in a questionnaire about yourself

You’ll be asked to answer questions about your health and lifestyle. You can complete this at any time, and you don’t have to answer every question if you don’t want to.

30 to 45 minutes

3. Book an appointment at one of our clinics

During your appointment, we’ll ask you to provide a small sample of your blood. You’ll also have some physical measurements taken. We’ll offer you the chance the learn more about your own health, including your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

15 to 30 minutes

£10 voucher – to recognise your time and effort

After completing your questionnaire and agreeing to donate a blood sample at your appointment, you will be offered a £10 voucher.

You can spend this voucher in places like supermarkets, high street shops and online retailers.

You can also choose to donate the voucher to the Our Future Health charity.

Our voucher scheme opened in December 2023 for new participants.

More information about taking part

What will you do with my sample?

Once we have collected your blood sample, it will be divided into smaller samples. We will use one of the samples to extract DNA (genetic information) and the rest of the samples will be stored for future research. For example, in the future, we may use some of your stored samples to look at cholesterol, or blood sugar levels.

Although over 99% of DNA is the same for all humans, there are lots of tiny differences in people’s DNA. These differences are called variants, and they contribute to many of the differences between people, such as a person’s blood type. Some variants are common and some are rare.

Importantly, some variants influence a person’s risk of developing different diseases.

We’ll use a technology called SNP array to look at some of the variants in your DNA.

If possible, we may also use a process called genome sequencing and other genetic technologies to look at your DNA. Genome sequencing reads and records almost all the DNA in your genome (your complete set of DNA).

Your samples and DNA will be stored for future analyses by researchers.

In the future, researchers may also use your sample to measure other parts of your blood, to see if they are linked to health and risk of disease.

Will I receive personal results from my samples and data?

At your appointment, you may be offered results from the finger-prick blood test for cholesterol and other measurements, such as your blood pressure. If these measurements are taken, they will be for research purposes and are not intended as a personal health check.

As Our Future Health is a research programme, your information will not be used in the diagnosis or treatment of disease, and you will not automatically receive personal feedback about your samples, DNA or other data.

But in the future, we will get in touch to ask if you would like to receive personal feedback from your samples, DNA or other data. You might learn new information about your health or risk of disease from this feedback. We will always give you more information and the chance to ask questions before you make your decision, and you can say yes or no.

Who will do the research and how will it work?

Some of the research will be done by researchers at Our Future Health, but most of it will be carried out by other researchers.

These researchers may be from countries around the world and could be from organisations such as universities, charities or industry.

Any researcher who applies to do research will need to go through a strict application process, where their proposals will be carefully reviewed by an Access Board. The Access Board includes scientific experts and initially, members of the public, but will later include members of the public taking part in the Our Future Health programme.

The Access Board will only approve health-related research proposals that are for the public good and come from registered researchers. Any researchers who are granted access will only be able to see de-identified data about you. This means that they will not be able to see your name, contact details or any information that will directly identify you as an individual. In addition, researchers who are granted access will also need to sign an agreement that says they will not try to re-identify any of the participants from the data they are able to see.

Who is responsible for my data and samples?

Our Future Health will be responsible for your data and samples and will strictly control who has access to them. In addition, any researcher who is granted access will also need to agree to protect your data. Looking after your privacy and the security of your data is very important to us.

Read more about how we protect your data

What will happen to the findings from the research?

Discoveries made from Our Future Health will be published in scientific papers and made available online. Your identity and any personal details will be kept confidential.

You should be aware that it will take several years for discoveries to emerge from the research programme.

Any researchers doing research with Our Future Health may profit from discoveries they make.

You can choose to receive regular updates to keep you informed about our progress and the discoveries arising from Our Future Health.

Taking part in Our Future Health is voluntary

After you have signed up, you have full control over whether you’d like to continue being a part of the programme. You may withdraw at any time.

“I want to help people like me in the future”

As part of our Volunteer Voices series, Our Future Health participant Renuka Baldwin speaks about why she’s motivated to help change the lack of diversity in health research.

Read Renuka’s storyJoin Our Future Health

Watch our videos to learn more

What are the benefits and risks of taking part?

How will you protect my information and privacy?

More about joining us

  • How can I leave the programme?

    You can withdraw from Our Future Health, or reduce your involvement, at any time. If you would like to stay in the programme but do not want to hear from us you can change your contact preferences.

  • Invitation letters from NHS England

    We are working with the NHS to send people letters inviting them to join Our Future Health. If you don’t want to receive an invitation letter from the NHS you can opt out.

Key documents

Participant Information Sheet

Version 3.3 | April 2024 | PDF: 3 MB

Consent Form

Version 3.3 | April 2024 | PDF: 366 KB

“Joining Our Future Health is like leaving your body to science – while you’re still alive”

Our Future Health volunteer Paul Hooley reveals why his mother and son were an important factor in his decision to join our programme.

Read Paul’s storyJoin Our Future Health