Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: ADR UK research fellowships 2022

Apply for funding to conduct research and analysis demonstrating the policy impact potential of key Administrative Data Research UK (ADR UK) flagship datasets.

Priority datasets for this round are:

  • Longitudinal Educational Outcomes (LEO)
  • Growing Up In England (GUIE)
  • Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) linked to Census 2011

You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for ESRC funding.

The full economic cost of fellowship can be up to £175,000. ESRC and ADR UK will fund 80% of the full economic cost.

Funding is available for 18 months.

Who can apply

We welcome proposals from individual researchers from eligible research organisations, in line with ESRC’s standard eligibility criteria.

For further details, read the ESRC research funding guide.

Check if you are eligible for research and innovation funding.

Early career researchers, for which a mentor is compulsory, may apply. Please get in touch if you have any questions about this requirement or are struggling to find an appropriate mentor. Contact details can be found in the contact section below.

Researchers on fixed term contracts are eligible to apply if their institutions are willing to extend their contracts to cover the period of the fellowship.

Joint applications on a job-share basis are permitted for this funding opportunity. If your application is linked to another applicant as a proposed job share, please state this in your case for support and set out your proposed arrangements. We require both applicants to make separate applications for any joint applications.

We encourage a minimum time commitment of 0.6 full-time equivalent for the core research phase, although this can be split if proposing a job share.

We also welcome letters of support from other organisations, both academic and non-academic, as we are keen to ensure that research is relevant and well-received.

You may apply for either a part-time or full-time research fellowship, but the recommended minimum is 0.6 full-time equivalent.

You may also request funding for:

  • salaries, plus nominated research support staff or mentorship time (early career researchers must have a mentor)
  • travel and subsistence
  • engagement or events specific to the project
  • public engagement
  • production of outputs, for example, blogs or policy briefs training (encouraged)

What we're looking for

ADR UK invites applications for research fellowships to conduct research and analysis demonstrating the policy impact potential of key ADR England flagship datasets (PDF, 1MB) held within the Office of National Statistics (ONS) Secure Research Service (or other ADR UK trusted research environments).

You should read the research scope for each linked dataset outlined below.


We are looking for fellowship proposals that meet the following four objectives:

  • useful research: proposals that will act as ‘pathfinders’ for conducting research and deriving insights from the dataset, and which showcase the potential for policy impact and public benefit
  • useful data: proposals that will develop the data as a useful research resource for future users
  • useful engagement: proposals that will foster opportunities between academia, government, the third sector and the public to allow fresh thinking to flourish and maintain public acceptance of the use of data for research purposes
  • community building: proposals that will greatly boost the applicant’s development as a research leader in their field and include activities promoting the development of a wider community around a particular dataset or theme

You should read the general research specification (PDF, 640KB) for more information on these objectives.

You must use key ADR England flagship datasets (PDF, 1MB) for your fellowship.

For this round we are prioritising funding for applications utilising the following.

Longitudinal Educational Outcomes (LEO)

The LEO dataset provides a unique insight into the transitions of individuals from their education to workplace. It combines data from:

  • the National Pupil Database
  • Higher Education Statistics Agency data on students at UK publicly funded higher education institutions and some alternative providers
  • Individualised Individual Record data on students at further education institutions
  • PAYE employment data held by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs
  • the self-assessment tax return
  • the National Benefit Database
  • Labour Market System
  • Juvos, held by the Department for Work and Pensions

The dataset allows researchers to analyse longer-term labour market outcomes at person level, enabling a major leap forward in the assessment of education policy and provision, and with greater accuracy than ever before.

Read the LEO research scope (PDF, 338KB).

Growing Up In England (GUIE)

The Children’s Commissioner for England’s 2017 review of childhood vulnerability identified an evidence gap in information about the lives of vulnerable children.

The GUIE dataset can help address this gap by enabling researchers to investigate how a child’s circumstances and characteristics can influence educational attainment.

The ONS has linked 2011 census records to an attainment dataset from Department of Education named the Feasibility All Education Dataset for England. The final longitudinal dataset covers the academic years 2001 to 2002 and 2014 to 2015, and includes data from all local authority maintained schools in England. Around seven million records have been matched, producing a significant sample size for analysis.

Read the GUIE research scope (PDF, 124KB).

Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) Census

The Wage and Employment Dynamics data linkage project is a collaboration led by researchers from the University of the West of England, aiming to better understand wage inequalities in Britain.

Phase one of the project is made up of two parts:

  • linkage of the ASHE data to 2011 census
  • the development of an enriched ASHE code

This will allow for insight into the dynamics of wage and employment issues, and how characteristics such as gender, disability, and ethnicity influence these.

The Wage and Employment Dynamics team has enriched the core ASHE dataset by adding new variables such as minimum wage rates and survey dates and carrying out methodological reviews on the data and sampling.

They have also created new weights which account for attrition and selection effects. These are available from 2004. Access to the code will enable research into the dynamics of wage and employment issues, from labour market entry, through job mobility and career progression to retirement.

The code created by the Wage and Employment Dynamics team will be available within the ONS Secure Research Service on a shared accessible drive. Please note that this code is not part of the ONS ASHE official statistics output.

Read the ASHE research scope (PDF, 227KB).


We will prioritise funding for applications utilising these three datasets and are looking to fund a minimum of two fellowships on each dataset. We have some funds for fellowships outside of these priority datasets and are open to applications covering the range of ADR England flagship data.

If applications are made utilising ADR England flagship data outside of the priority list above it is essential that applicants demonstrate policy-relevance and likelihood of impact and uptake in their research proposals.

Project partners: joint projects, placements, and secondments

ADR UK recognises the value of close collaboration with research project stakeholders and encourages fellows to consider how they might embed partnership working into the fellowship. For example, developing closer ties to key organisations that are able to derive public benefit from any research insights to boost the potential and future impact of the data, research, and your engagement.

This could be facilitated through a formal secondment for part or all the fellowship or could be a more informal collaborative arrangement through a project partnership without the need for a secondment to take place.

This is not an essential part of this fellowship opportunity. However, we would like to offer the flexibility to accommodate co-production and encourage co-design of research projects in order to deliver the most public good from making these data available.

Fellowship structure and expectations

The ADR UK research fellowship is up to 18 months in total including a dedicated funded period of up to three months at the end of the research phase for the fellow to focus on impact and development opportunities.

Research phase

This phase is up to 15 months and requires a maximum of 1.0 full time equivalent.

This should cover typical research project stages including project set up, analysis and delivery of the research aims of your project.

Projects may start while data access and project space set up is being finalised. Applicants should anticipate a project inception phase up to 6 weeks to accommodate this.

In support of our efforts to build capacity to work with administrative data, we expect some training activities might be appropriate during this phase, especially if you are developing skills to use the data.

Your application will not be penalised if you lack the required skills initially so long as you have a strong plan in place to develop those skills. You will also have dedicated time at the end of your project for training as part of the impact and development phase.

For those wanting access to the LEO dataset, we can accommodate requests for early training activities to build the required SQL skills. This should be factored into your project inception phase.

Key outputs during this phase will include:

  • one project web page,
  • one blog,
  • one data insight
  • one data explained

The ADR UK communications team will support fellows with these outputs as well as engagements with the ADR UK user representation groups. We welcome outputs and engagement activities outside these requirements where feasible. More details can be found in our general research specification (PDF, 640KB).

Impact and development phase

This phase is up to 3 months and requires a maximum of 0.5 full time equivalent.

This phase should be dedicated toward building on the momentum from your research phase and maximising opportunities for knowledge exchange, impact and development opportunities.

Activities during this phase should enhance the research goals and policy impact of you work. Wider activities may also contribute to your own development and support the wider research community using administrative data.

Fellows can include activities in this phase which cover the following.

Impact enhancement

This includes:

  • tailoring communication to a non-academic audience through the production of short documents or media products
  • organising an event which involves a wide range of stakeholders including policymakers and practitioners and which maintains public trust
  • coordinating activities to establish networks and relationships with research users
  • developing activities to influence policy
Research synthesis, cohort leadership and engagement

This includes:

  • time to collaborate with other fellows on co-authored journal articles and other research outputs (this funding cannot be used for APCs)
  • liaising with other fellows to organise a research event focused on an area of shared interest aimed at building community and enhancing bodies of knowledge
  • activities which pass on your expertise and help build a wider cohort of researchers who are better able to carry out research using the data from your fellowship
Training and development opportunities

This includes:

  • training offered by you to the wider research community in support of enhancing capability to conduct administrative data research
  • training for yourself to allow you to capitalise on opportunities and enhancing your capability as an administrative data research leader. We expect training in the phase of the project to focus on skills related to impact and knowledge exchange or skills relevant to leading and delivering future research projects

We understand that new opportunities may arise during the research phase of your project and plans may need to change accordingly.

Successful fellows will meet with ADR UK to review their impact and development phase plans during month 13 of their fellowship to discuss any required changes and adjustments.

We will work flexibly throughout the fellowship to consider change requests and support emerging opportunities.

Funding available

The full economic cost of fellowship can be up to £175,000. ESRC and ADR UK will fund 80% of the full economic cost.


Funding is available for 18 months.

Future rounds of this scheme are planned for 2023 and 2024. Exact dates and scope of these opportunities will be confirmed closer to the time.

How to apply

Submitting your application through Je-S

You can find advice on completing your Je-S application in:

We recommend you start your application early.

Your host organisation will also be able to provide advice and guidance.

Before starting an application, you will need to log in or create an account in Je-S.

When applying:

  1. Select ‘documents’, then ‘new document’.
  2. Select ‘call search’.
  3. To find the opportunity, search for: ADR UK Research Fellowships 2022.

This will populate:

  • council: ESRC
  • document type: fellowship
  • scheme: research fellowship
  • call/type/mode: ADR UK Research Fellowships 2022

Once you have completed your application, make sure you ‘submit document’.

You can save completed details in Je-S at any time and return to continue your application later.

Data access

You will need to become an accredited researcher of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Secure Research Service.

Successful applicants will also need to have their project approved under the data owners’ information governance review process.

At this stage we do not require a Research Accreditation Service (RAS) application. Successful applications will be invited to submit an application through the RAS system after the funding panel decisions.

Read more information about submitting a RAS application.


ESRC must receive your application by 24 January 2023 at 4:00pm.

You will not be able to apply after this time. Please leave enough time for your proposal to pass through your organisation’s Je-S submission route before this date.

You should ensure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines that may be in place.


The following attachments are mandatory along with the Je-S proforma:

  • case for support (maximum of 6 sides of A4)
  • CV, including a publication summary list (2 sides of A4)
  • justification of resources
  • head of department statement
  • project partner letter of support (if applicable)
  • mentors statement and CV (if applicable)
  • LEO variable request form (LEO only)

Attachments should be uploaded in PDF (rather than Microsoft Word) format, to reduce document corruption issues.

With the exception of letters of support, attachments should be in font size 11 with 2cm margins (recommended font type is Arial or Garamond).

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

Following basic office eligibility checks, research applications will be assessed by a funding panel made up of independent expert reviewers. At least two individual members will review and score each proposal.

Final funding recommendations will be made at a panel meeting of all reviewers in April 2023.

Full funding offers will be subject to final data owner approval.

We expect the outcomes of the funding panel to be communicated within two weeks of the meeting. Applications will then go through a formal data owner approval process.

We expect funding approval and offer letters to be issued in May 2023.

Assessment criteria

The assessment criteria we will use include:

  • the potential of your administrative data research to impact public policy, and the likelihood that your project will deliver this
  • scientific merit
  • how likely you are to address the research questions with the data available
  • how likely you are to produce research outputs within the timeframe
  • your knowledge and experience
  • value for money
  • data owner approval

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) supports the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment and recognises the relationship between research assessment and research integrity.

Read UKRI’s principles of assessment and decision making.

Contact details

Get help with developing your proposal

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

Ask about this funding opportunity

ADR UK strategic hub


Include ‘ADR UK Fellowships 22’ in the subject line.

We aim to respond within 3 working days.

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