The University of Cambridge is launching a new, £42-million research institute, tasked with gathering evidence to better support decisions on improving NHS care and organisation.

The Healthcare Improvement Studies Institute (THIS Institute) has been established on the back of a 10-year grant – the largest single grant ever made - by independent charity the Health Foundation.

Its founding principle is that efforts to boost care provided by the NHS should always be based on high quality evidence, and the intention is for this to be created by both users and providers of care, “using innovative citizen science methods in large-scale research projects”.

Employing methods already used in other fields such as biology and astronomy, THIS Institute will create a digital platform to crowdsource research ideas and collect data from NHS staff and patients, including their opinions on aspects of care.

“The UK population clearly wants a high quality and sustainable NHS into the future. Understanding what works, in which contexts and why, is crucial, as is obtaining that evidence fast so it can be acted on,” said Dr Jennifer Dixon, chief executive of the Health Foundation.

“There couldn’t be a more important time to do this, and that is why the Health Foundation has put its money where its mouth is.”

The Institute will formally open its doors tomorrow (31 January), from its base at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, sitting alongside Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and world-leading research institutes.