Data and analytics research environments

Trusted and connected

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for researchers across our research councils to do trustworthy research that is for the public good quickly, safely and efficiently.

To do this, they have needed to access large-scale data quickly, link it and analyse it in safe settings, before communicating and sharing insights that have informed policy and saved lives.

Whilst this has been possible in some settings, there are major gaps in the provision of existing national digital research infrastructure, especially those capable of dealing with personal identifiable and sensitive data.

Establishing capability

As the UK moves out of the critical phase of the pandemic into recovery, there is a need to ensure our investments in data research infrastructures are joined-up, impactful and support research at scale.

As part of the UKRI digital research infrastructure strategy, we are scoping out the establishment of a UK trusted and connected data and analytics research environments capability that aims to:

  • enable UK researchers and innovators to securely and efficiently harness the full power of linked datasets, modern digital platforms, tools, techniques and skills
  • enable research and analysis on a broad range of research-ready data, including health, administrative, sensitive multimodal research data and wearable data
  • deliver a novel and innovative UK-wide infrastructure for the UK research community
  • establish the next generation of trusted research environments that will enable fast, safe and efficient sharing, linkage and advanced analysis of complex multi-modal, multi-sector sensitive data, where it is legal and ethical to do so.

The programme will build on the foundation and strengths of the infrastructure that already exists across the UK, which is supporting world class research.

Phase one: design and dialogue

Phase one of our work to establish this capability will be an extensive listening exercise over the coming year.

Fundamental to this work or intervention will be ensuring that research is conducted for the public good in a way that is secure, trustworthy and protects sensitive information about individuals. We will achieve this through an inclusive and transparent community co-design approach, with involvement of public representatives from the outset and engagement of a range of stakeholders and researchers from across different disciplines and sectors.

We will bring together colleagues from across different research disciplines and sectors, including funders and public representatives to co-design standards and gather detailed socio-technical requirements.

Phase one will be delivered jointly by:

Its findings, which will be made publicly available, will inform and shape subsequent phases of this programme with the delivery partner or partners determined through an open and transparent process.

The three main stages of phase one are:

  • listen and learn (July to December 2021)
  • test and evolve (January to March 2022)
  • agree and plan (April to July 2022).

Listen and learn starts on 28 July 2021.

Find out more and get involved by signing up via HDR UK’s online form.

Last updated: 28 July 2021

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