SafePod Network

The SafePod Network is a major innovation that provides a network of standardised safe settings across the UK to improve secure access to data for research that benefits the public.

The SafePod Network has been created to:

  • Significantly improve the quantity and diversity of research in the public interest by providing accredited researchers with local, secure access to data.
  • Improve and widen secure sharing of data by data centres for public benefit research.

The establishment of the SafePod Network overcomes the geographical, time and cost barriers that may have previously existed for researchers accessing data securely. The SafePod Network will also provide data centres with a flexible and low-cost solution to securely share and widen access to their data for public benefit research.


What is a SafePod?

A SafePod is a small, prefabricated safe setting which provides the necessary security and controls to enable a researcher to access and work on data that requires secure access. A SafePod includes:

  • Door access control system
  • Separate secure storage for IT hardware
  • CCTV system
  • Automatic monitor protection
  • Height adjustable desk
  • Air ventilation system
  • Adjustable lighting
  • Emergency and fire alarms
  • Locker storage for researcher possessions

The SafePod has been designed with accessibility in mind, including wheelchair access.

SafePods are primarily based at universities across the UK, and will be available to approved researchers to book and use. There are 23 SafePods in the network based primarily at universities across the UK. The locations of SafePods can be seen on the map below.

The SafePod Network is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and run by the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research as part of the ADR UK programme.

What are the benefits of SafePods?

Key benefits include: 

  • Removing the geographical, time and cost barriers to research associated with researchers attending the UK’s current limited and fragmented safe settings by providing secure access to data from SafePods located across the country.
  • Providing opportunities to government departments and public sector bodies to significantly widen access to their data for public benefit research across the UK.
  • Providing researchers with the flexibility to access data held within different data centres from the same SafePod.
  • Simplifying  the safe setting accreditation process. As SafePod controls and their policies are all standardised, the accreditation of one SafePod accredits all SafePods in the network.
  • Providing host organisations with their own  safe setting from which they can also view their own data for research.

Data centres joining the SafePod Network

A wealth of government administrative datasets, as well as study and survey datasets are available for secure access from SafePods. This includes datasets from:

Other data centres are expected to join the network to provide access to their datasets over time.

How do you access datasets from a SafePod?

A SafePod can support both remote and local access to data, dependent on requirements and conditions from data centres that are part of the SafePod Network.  Researchers must have their projects approved by a data centre before they can access their project data from a SafePod.

SafePods are managed by the SafePod Network under their security policies and controls, and a SafePod Coordinator based at each organisation manages their SafePod’s day-to-day operation.  Each data centre sets the conditions for a researcher to access and use a SafePod for the datasets they hold.

SafePods are booked through the SafePod Network website, and priority of access, where needed, will be given for research that is considered critical to society and the economy.

SafePod locations

An interactive map of data access points can be found on our annual reports website.


  • Durham University 
  • Lancaster University 
  • London School of Economics and Political Science 
  • Northumbria University 
  • The National Archives 
  • University of Bath 
  • University of Bristol 
  • University of Cambridge 
  • University of Central Lancashire 
  • University of Exeter 
  • University of Leicester 
  • University of Liverpool 
  • University of Manchester 
  • University of Nottingham 
  • University of Oxford 
  • University of Sheffield 
  • University of Warwick 
  • University of York 

Northern Ireland

  • Ulster University 


  • Glasgow Caledonian University 
  • University of Aberdeen 
  • University of Dundee 
  • University of the Highlands and Islands 

You can find out more about each SafePod by visiting the SafePod Network website.

Further information

For further information about the SafePod Network, please visit their website.  If your institution is interested in hosting a SafePod, please call 01334 463901 or email

SafePod is a registered trademark of the University of St Andrews.