ADR UK 2020-21: Reflections on our third year

Since September 2020, ADR UK has achieved some significant milestones, including:

  • The end of the successful three-year ADR UK pilot phase celebrated with a virtual half-day event in April.
  • The investment of a further £90 million funding by the Economic and Social Research Council. This contributes toward supporting the ADR UK programme until March 2026. 
  • The launch of ADR England – a portfolio of data linking and research projects managed by the ADR UK Strategic Hub.
  • The launch of the ADR UK Ambassadors – an initiative in which people in and around government have committed to help increase and improve the use of administrative data for research to inform policy and practice across the UK.
  • The launch of the SafePod Network which is providing a network of standardised safe settings across the UK to improve secure access to data for research that benefits the public.
  • Publication of our cross-partnership Public Engagement Strategy 2021-26 detailing ADR UK’s vision, objectives and principles for public engagement.

The challenges that we continue to face as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have emphasised the importance of data-driven policy for solving economic and social problems.

In her introduction to the Annual Report 2020-21, Dr Emma Gordon, Director of ADR UK, said: "In the last year and a half, data has been in the spotlight in unprecedented ways. From experts to members of the public, we have all armed ourselves with as much data as possible to forge our global, national, local and personal responses to the pandemic. It was quickly realised that timely access to high quality data was more important than ever for understanding and responding to social and economic challenges. ADR UK has played an important role in facilitating this by bridging the gap between government and academia, enabling policy to be informed by the best evidence available."

ADR UK’s vision for 2026 is:

to be the default choice to host linked administrative data from across the entirety of UK and devolved government, making it accessible to a deep pool of trained researchers to generate insights routinely used to inform policy and practice.

Following the £90 million funding extension awarded by the ESRC, we are looking forward to realising this vision over the next five years.

Dr Emma Gordon, Director of ADR UK, said: “With renewed funding, ADR UK partners will be able to maintain this momentum and provide insights crucial to recovering from the pandemic and other priorities. I am inspired by the progress made across the entire partnership, grateful for the support we’ve received for our work, and look forward to what’s yet to come.”

Read the full 2020-21 Annual Report.

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