The formation of UKRI has provided an opportunity to develop a collective and coordinated vision for the research infrastructures in the UK, and specifically to create a coherent state-of-the-art national Digital Research Infrastructure that will enable UK researchers and innovators to harness the full power of multi-dimensional data, modern digital platforms, tools, techniques and skills.
The Data and Analytics Research Environments (DARE UK) programme aims to deliver a novel national federated digital infrastructure to establish the next generation of Trusted Research Environments (TREs). For example, secure, cloud-enabled environments for advanced analytics.
- define how organisations can best use data for public good while protecting sensitive information about individuals
- define the technologies, combined with changes in wider governance, policy and business frameworks, that could enable the sharing and use of data in a privacy-preserving manner
- support researchers to safely store, process, curate, link and analyse potentially sensitive data at national UK scale, including use of advanced analytical algorithms (for example, artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms)
DARE UK’s scope includes all research conducted by UKRI Councils that uses, or anticipates use of, large scale personal and sensitive datasets (linked and standalone) related to social, biomedical and environmental science.
In the context of DARE UK, the following simplified definition of sensitive data which may expand and develop during future phases of the programme is used:
Sensitive data includes data which contains personally identifiable information such as names, addresses and identifying numbers. This can still be sensitive once it has been de-identified (has had all personal identifiable information removed) if there is potential for re-identification, particularly when used with other data. Commercial data such as retail information, business details, intellectual property and copyright information or confidential product details may also be considered sensitive data.
The programme will review existing infrastructure within each of the councils, identify opportunities for joint-working, and novel approaches and innovations. It is envisaged that the DARE UK programme would be delivered in phases, with phases 2 and 3 dependent on the conclusions from phase 1 and securing funding for future phases:
- Phase 1: Design and Dialogue
- Phase 1a (expected to be 14 months, July 2021 to September 2022)
- Phase 1b: (expected to be 13 months, October 2022 to October 2023)
- Phase 2: Build, Test and Establish
- Phase 3: Deliver, Optimise and Federate
- Phase 4: Scale up and broaden use cases to other sectors and research disciplines (future activity, not approved for funding currently)
Phase 1 of the DARE UK programme began in July 2021. Phase 1: Design and Dialogue is an extensive programme of community engagement with researchers, technologists, funders, public sector, and the public. The first part of this phase, Phase 1a, concluded in September 2022.
As a key part of Phase 1a, a portfolio of Sprint Showcase Projects were funded to help inform the design of subsequent phases of the DARE UK Programme and to test the hypothesis that ‘UKRI councils will increase research impact by aligning around a common federated data infrastructure architecture with shared standards for governance, ethics and metadata’.
To build on this, in Phase 1b, we are now launching this focused, competitive funding opportunity to provide the initial resourcing for delivering work that advances sensitive data research in several focused, priority areas as outlined in part by the DARE UK recommendations out of Phase 1a. These initial priority areas are:
- trusted research environment (TRE) reference architectures
- core federation services
- federated identity management across TREs
- partial automated risk assessment at data access request
- partial automation of output control
Successful applicants will be expected to enter into a legally binding consortium agreement with their project partners within 2 weeks of the issue of an award letter and in advance of a project starting.
This agreement will allow the partners to think through and work out the arrangements for relative responsibilities in relation to governance, intellectual property, reporting and access to data before a project starts.
To be eligible for funding, the project must meet the intellectual property arrangements (as set out below), and these must be reflected in the ICF submission, if required, to be submitted with your application.
All foreground project intellectual property generated through a project shall be shared as open source under a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) or other equivalent permissive licence. Unless by doing so, there is a risk of disclosure of sensitive or personal data in which case the IP must be fully allocated to the lead research organisation named on the application.
Project results must be published in accordance with open access principles. Prior to publication, partners may have the opportunity to review manuscripts and raise objections but only when it is clear that publication will present a risk to their existing listed intellectual property.
Project outputs will be published in accordance with the branding and communications guidelines that will form part of any award letter and HDR UK shall be entitled to make the same available to third parties as part of the DARE UK programme.
Please note that the intellectual property arrangements for this funding opportunity will take precedence over any related standard UKRI terms and conditions.
Outputs, monitoring and reporting
DARE UK or partner working groups
Important to note, some of these driver projects will be integrated with several working groups that will be established under the DARE UK programme or together with partners to address some of the fundamental challenges identified during Phase 1a of the DARE UK programme.
These working groups will act as expert bodies responsible for collaboratively defining the strategy, delivery planning, and execution in each working group’s area of expertise.
These working groups will be convened and supported through the DARE UK programme or through partners, however the community of members themselves will take the lead to shape the directions of each of the working groups.
While these projects are time limited to Phase 1b of the DARE UK programme, the DARE UK working group structure is envisaged to persist in the longer term across the future programme phases with opportunities for future delivery in each working group remit.
A project team can be led by or include members of a working group.
Projects teams will need to provide regular updates to the relevant working groups and take input and feedback around the directions of the work.
The details and frequency of this collaboration may be different for different working groups and as such will be discussed in further detail at a later stage together with working group members.
As a minimum, project teams will be required to provide a formal update on progress and receive feedback on a quarterly basis, this may change based on discussions with working group members and does not preclude ad-hoc discussions or updates.
Successful applicants will be required to attend the designated showcase days as shown in the timeline section of this document. Showcase days will be for all funded driver projects and will provide an opportunity for progress updates and cross-project dissemination.
All projects will be expected to participate in the follow events:
- initial showcase day: 25 January 2023
- mid-project showcase day: 24 May 2023
- final showcase day: 4 October 2023
At each showcase day all funded projects will be required to give a progress update presentation.
The lessons learned from all of the projects will be used to inform future phases of the DARE UK programme and the future work to be delivered through the relevant working groups.
Participation in the showcase days is a condition of funding.
Communications and engagement
Project teams may be requested by the DARE UK team to participate in communications and engagement activities. For example, this may include providing project information for:
- web pages
- case studies
Participation by the project team should be considered a requirement of funding and should not be unreasonably withheld. Teams will be supported by DARE UK to deliver these outputs.
While the main project outputs will be the artefacts produced e.g., a working open-source project with code for TRE reference architectures, applicants will be required to submit a final report (no more than 20 pages). This will be due by the date specified in the timeline section of this document.
The final report should cover:
- description of their project outputs
- description of the project’s Public Involvement and Engagement (PIE) activities, including methods and finding
- description of the likely impact of their project and how this contributes to the design of future phases of the DARE UK programme
Payment and end of grant reconciliation
Awards will be made to the lead organisation, in the name of the lead applicant.
Research organisations and the lead applicant will be required to sign and submit an award acceptance letter within 10 days of receipt of the award letter confirming their acceptance of the funding and responsibility for the project.
Successful applicants will receive an award letter, setting out the value of the award and duration. Payment of funds will be made quarterly in arrears on submission of an invoice against incurred spend. The total value of all claims may not exceed the total value of the award.
No extensions or supplements will be made to the awards. However, costs of parental leave can be claimed from the award, in proportion to the percentage of that person’s time allocated to the project.
Applicants will be required to submit an end of grant reconciliation form, documenting spend on the project within 1 month of the end date of their project.
The final quarterly payment will be withheld until the final report has been received and the grant reconciliation completed.
Receipt of funding for a driver project will not be a requirement of future involvement in the DARE UK programme.
Successful driver projects will be expected to work and share know-how to assist in the design of future phases of the DARE UK programme. It is expected that the lessons learned from the projects will inform the development of the longer-term digital research infrastructure across UKRI’s domains.
The driver projects opportunity is an open competition and not restricted to current HDR UK or ADR UK funded or affiliated organisations.
What we will do with your information
In accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018, the personal information that you provide within the application will specifically be used for administering this opportunity.
The information will be viewed by HDR UK and ADR UK staff and selection panel members, and your information will not be used for any other purpose without your specific consent.
There will be 2 webinars to give an opportunity for potential applicants to discuss the driver projects in advance of the application deadline.
These are scheduled for:
- 27 October 2022, 10:00am to 11:00am UK time
- 17 November 2022, 1:00pm to 2:00pm UK time
For more information and registration, see the DARE UK website.
DARE UK financial resource request template (XLSX, 79KB)
DARE UK industry partner finance form (XLSX, 203KB)
DARE UK Driver Projects panel membership (PDF, 13KB)