Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: Research-ready data and access funding

Apply for funding to improve access to, and use of, administrative data for research. The data is routinely collected information, usually from public services.

To apply you must be from a UK academic institution or government organisation.

You must have experience working with data and have relationships with data owners.

Your project must focus on one of these:

  • creating new links between administrative datasets, or improving existing links
  • making administrative data easier to access.

ADR UK will fund 100% of the full economic cost of the project, or 80% if the funding is paid to the academic partner.

Who can apply

Expressions of interest are invited from teams led by either UK academia or national government. That can include involvement from others such as third sector and public sector organisations, including What Works Centres and ONS.

If a proposal is led by a government partner it must still feature academic involvement and expertise. In particular, we welcome collaborations between organisations and partnerships that can draw out insight from UKRI or other related investments or data linkage programmes.

Applicants are expected to be part of experienced teams with existing relationships with data owners and knowledgeable about the datasets they will be linking, augmenting or enhancing.

ADR England would expect that, where possible, data owners should be involved in the project team. Or alternatively, that the applicant has already secured significant interest from data owners and partners to engage in the creation of novel administrative data linkage for research for public benefit.

What we're looking for

Projects should do one of the following:

  • create novel data linkages or augment existing linkages
  • explore mechanisms for simplifying data access by doing one of these:
    • streamlining processes to access data
    • developing new tools and training materials to support wider use of linked administrative data.

Proposals funded through this funding opportunity must:

  • build on and learn from best or relevant practice and existing standards or guidance
  • deliver full and robust metadata and publicly available, well-documented linkage methodology
  • consult with academic experts to ensure data, tools or mechanisms are fit for purpose
  • develop tools, training materials and opportunities, in collaboration with ADR England, to support the wider use of new linked data, which could include materials to aid data familiarisation for researchers without approved secure access (such as synthetic data)
  • plan for data sustainability to ensure data can be maintained and enhanced over time, including refreshing data and enabling further linkages or additional variables to grow the dataset, for example through a ‘linkage spine’
  • consider the interoperability of the data with other relevant data sources and through other platforms.

How to apply

To submit an expression of interest to ADR England, use the guidance provided in the detailed guidance document (PDF, 216KB) (ADR UK website). Applications which meet all eligibility criteria will be invited to submit a full application.

Your expression of interest should include a summary of your idea and an outline of your objectives, engagement and outputs. Your summary must address the following points.


A succinct and compelling narrative in the form of an overarching strategic case in approximately 500 words to include these four subheadings.

Drivers for this proposal

The initiatives, reports, or policy agendas which this work will form a part. What particular social or economic problem(s) does the project seek to address?


The goals, the desired impact, and the timing of this work within that context.


What public authorities, interest groups, and research teams are or will be engaged with this work? Please also indicate if you already have any funding approved for this proposal.


How this work serves the public interest as defined in the research code of practice.

Your role

Why are you, or your team, well-positioned to do this work?


Why does your proposal fit with the scope of the ADR England strategy (PDF, 231KB) (ADR UK website)?

Statement of commitment

A statement of commitment that you can meet the essential requirements.

Yearly plan

Type of project, indicative costs, timeframes and deliverables.

How we will assess your application

Expressions of interest will be sifted by a multi-partnered triage group and selected bids will be invited to make a full application for funding.

Expressions of interest should be submitted to ADR England by 17 September 2021. Invitations to make a full application will be issued late 2021. Invitees submit their proposal early 2022.

Submitting a draft expression of interest

Interested applicants are welcome to submit a draft expression of interest to receive early feedback from the triage group. To do this, please provide the same information as requested for the main expression of interest, but be sure to mark it as ‘draft’.

Contact details

Ask a question about this funding opportunity

Emily Oliver, Head of Research and Capacity Building


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