NEWS13 September 2021

Data research initiative gets more funding

Covid-19 Healthcare News Public Sector UK

UK – The Economic and Social Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation, will invest £90m in an administrative data initiative that aims to change how researchers access public sector data.

aerial view of British street

The funding for Administrative Data Research UK (ADR UK) means it can continue for another five years.

ADR UK, founded three years ago, gives researchers access to de-identified data from government departments, local authorities and health authorities to help inform policy decisions in areas including education, healthcare and crime.

Professor Ottoline Leyser, chief executive, UKRI, said: “Administrative data is an under-explored but information-rich resource. The wealth of data available from government departments and public services has the potential to create important knowledge and insight, as well as to provide a comprehensive picture of UK society and point to areas where change is needed. 

“This continued investment ensures policymaking underpinned by data-driven evidence can make a positive difference to our society and improve people’s lives.”

In the past 18 months, ADR UK has invested in research environments, including the ONS secure research service, which acquired data and made it available for research to inform the UK’s pandemic response.

Professor Alison Park, interim executive chair of ESRC and senior responsible officer for ADR UK, said: “In the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are at a coming of age moment for administrative data.

“The questions we ask now, the data we collect, and how we safely and securely link and analyse it, will be crucial to how the UK navigates its way over the next few years in order to emerge stronger and more resilient for the future.”