ZOE government funding has been cancelled, but we’re not stopping

March 15, 2022

This article has not been updated recently

What’s happened to the ZOE COVID Study?

For the last 18 months, the ZOE COVID Study has been funded by the UK Government via UKHSA as one of its key COVID Surveillance Studies. However, from April 2022, the Study will no longer receive this funding.

We’re all really disappointed with this news but have been blown away by the huge number of responses we’ve had from our contributors offering their support and kind words.

More than 4.7 million users strong, together we’ve saved lives, made critical scientific discoveries and proven that community scientists at home can achieve more than anyone thought possible. More than 40 peer-reviewed scientific papers and multiple policy changes based on your daily reports demonstrate this.

Who will fund the ZOE COVID Study now? 

You may remember, the Study was created by ZOE at the start of the COVID crisis and was self-funded for the first six months of its existence.  After this time, the UK government recognised the power of the Study and funded us for 18months.

We founded ZOE to take years of gut health research and turn it into a personalised nutrition test and programme that could improve the health of millions of people.

However, now that decision has been made to not grant any more funding, the three co-founders of ZOE: Jonathan, George and Tim, have agreed to keep the Study going for the near future until a longer-term option is secured. 

The Study will keep going. It has to. This isn’t just about COVID anymore. 

We want to be bold. We believe that what we’ve built together can change healthcare permanently. Not just fighting COVID and the pandemics of the future, but fighting the diseases we’ve accepted as inevitable: Cancer, Heart Disease, Dementia and scores of others.

What’s going to change in the app? 

We’re always working on updates to make the most out of the app, and are actively in the process of transforming it with new features that will help us study other major diseases too, and make reporting easier than ever. We still have important work to do and we’re not stopping now! 

We’ll continue to track COVID, its long-term impacts, and monitor population health to detect new variants and viruses that threaten our freedoms. The ZOE COVID Study is still the best early warning system we can use to stop the next pandemic before it begins.

We’ll keep our data accessible to the public as we have been doing for nearly two years as it’s the right thing to do.

We’ll get our heads down and focus on continuing to use this pioneering technology with our incredible community of sofa scientists to be used as a transformational health tool of the future! 

What can I do to support ZOE?

It’s simple. Log your health every day. 

Do it once a day over a morning coffee or an afternoon tea. Do it reading the newspaper or after coming back from the school run. Set your notifications on your phone so you get pinged once a day to remind you to log. Do it when you’re feeling well as well as when you have new symptoms, vaccines or test results to report.

This information is building a picture of both national and personal health. 

As always, we’ll report back to you and will be offering lots of fun and exciting new surveys for you to participate in over the next few months so that you can learn more about your own health as well as that of the nation.

FAQs

Not happy about the government's decision? Well neither are we, but we want to take this disappointment and show the world what we can do together by continuing to pioneer new technology for the benefit of the nation’s health and keeping the ZOE COVID Study going as strong as ever!

Here are some of the frequently asked questions we’ve received since the funding announcement:

What does the lack of government funding mean for the future of the COVID Study?

Nothing’s changed, apart from the funding from the UK government. We will continue to track both the symptoms and spread of the COVID pandemic, as well as investigate other chronic health conditions using the same technology in the app. 

Why did the government decide not to continue funding the study? 

The government slashed overall funding significantly for COVID so the treasury had to make cuts. Unfortunately the ZOE COVID Study was one of those cost-saving cuts, but we don’t have any more details as to why the decision was taken. However, our doors remain firmly open to the government should they wish to reconsider or collaborate in the future, and we’ll continue with the ZOE COVID and Health Study with support from the wider ZOE business. 

Which other surveillance studies are being funded by the government? 

The ZOE COVID Study alongside the REACT and the CoMix social contacts survey, have seen an end to their government funding. The ONS COVID Infection Survey is being continued as well as the SIREN and Vivaldi studies, though exact funding arrangements are being finalised.

What can I do to help/show my support? 

The best way to support the Study is to keep logging as often as you can. This information, even when you’re well, is building a picture of national and personal health that will help us to track COVID and understand more about other health conditions. Please also share the app with friends and family.

Who can I complain to about the government’s decision to stop funding? 

If you’d like to share your feedback on the decision to stop the continued funding of the ZOE COVID Study you can write an email to the UKHSA, at enquiries@ukhsa.gov.uk 

Please be respectful and constructive as we are very grateful for our funding over the last 18 months. 

Can I donate money to keep the app going?

ZOE, our parent company, has committed to supporting the Study whilst we work out the best course of action for long term funding. At the moment we’re not able to accept any donations but we’ll keep you up to date with any further announcements. 

What will happen to my data? (personal data and research data) 

Nothing is changing with the way we handle your data privacy. As part of our effort to combat COVID, in order to ensure that your information is put to the best use, we may share it with health researchers, for example, hospitals, NHS, universities, health charities etc. When we share your information with any of these institutions we will always take steps to prevent you from being individually identified. For more information on how we collect and use your personal data please refer to this page


If you still have questions, please contact us at covidteam@joinzoe.com 

Help science and keep logging!

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