Our history

Originally established as the founding centre for public health genomics in the UK in 1997, we became an independent registered charity in 2007. Today we are a health policy think tank committed to helping decision makers deliver the benefits of biomedical innovations to all. We do this through shaping the conversation, providing the evidence, analysing policy and advocating for change.


2015 - ? Post-genomic era

  • 2017

    Final year of 100,000 Genomes Project (initial phase) and the hand over into mainstream NHS genomic medicine services of the tests it has developed

    Launch by Public Health England of the first diagnostic whole genome sequencing service for infectious diseases

  • 2016

    PHG Foundation, along with ACGS, collaborate with the Office of the National Data Guardian (NDG) to deliver an evidence session on genomic data sharing for the NDG’s panel

    Department of Health announces its approval of the introduction of non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) as part of NHS antenatal screening

    National Data Guardian for health and care’s review of data security, consent and opt-outs published. PHG Foundation recommendations for genomic data sharing are commended in the report

    Britain votes to leave the EU

    PHG launch project on circulating tumour DNA technologies for cancer management

    Report: Whole genome sequencing for breast cancer risk testing

  • 2015

    EU institutions agree the General Data Protection Regulation and the results for research are positive. The EU institutions listen to the evidence presented by Wellcome Trust, PHG Foundation and other signatories of the 2013 joint statement ‘Impact of the draft European Data Protection Regulation and proposed amendments from the rapporteur of the LIBE committee on scientific research’

    UNESCO committee (IBC) updates its guidance on the human genome and human rights

    Genomics England revolutionises its approach to the development of diagnostic grade gene panels with launch of PanelApp – a crowdsourcing resource for sharing rare disease genomics knowledge

    America launches its precision medicine initiative

    EU publish proposal In Vitro Diagnostic Devices Regulation, which could have damaging effects on the provision of genetic tests for patient benefit and limit the uptake of new healthcare innovations. PHG Foundation works with the Wellcome Trust to highlight concerns, producing a joint statement

    Report: Data sharing to support UK clinical genetics and genomics services

    Report: Pathogen genomics into practice

2012 - 2015 Genomic era

2007-2012 Pre-genomic era

2002-2007 Building networks

1997-2002: Pioneering public health genomics

  • 2001

    UK Government announces £30m investment in genetics

    Moratorium on use of genetic test results in insurance

    PHGU funded to establish Cambridge Genetics Knowledge Park (CGKP)

  • 2000

    1st draft of the human genome

    Human Genetics Commission established

    PHGU invited to brief NHS Executive Board, DH and Secretary of State for Health

    PHGU / Nuffield Trust report: Genetics and health

  • 1999

    Debate about predictive genetic testing gathers momentum

    PHGU / Nuffield Trust Genetics Scenario Project

    PHGU runs first Genetics and Health Policy course

  • 1998

    PCR enables quicker testing for Down's

    Human Genome Epidemiology Network (HuGENet) established in US

    PHGU starts to build community of interest in public health genomics in the UK

    Developing international links with CDC OPHG and other centres in North America and Europe

  • 1997

    Human Genome Project 7 years old

    Research seeks links between genes and diseases (e.g. BRCA1/2)

    In US CDC establishes Office for Public Health Genetics

    Public Health Genetics Unit (PHGU) established in Cambridge UK