Funding pathways available now for research using Covid-19 datasets

ONS now has eight de-identified datasets related to the Covid-19 pandemic available for accredited researchers to apply to use. These include:

You can find out more about each of these datasets below.

For those who are interested in using these datasets for research in the public interest, there are a number of pathways for funding the work.

UKRI open call

With applications closing soon, UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) is inviting proposals for short-term projects addressing and mitigating the health, social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Project length: Up to 18 months

Closing date: 9 December 2020

Funding: Grants will be awarded at 80% of the full economic cost (fEC) for Research Council funding, or in line with Innovate UK's funding rules.

Award range: There is no specific budget for this call. UKRI are interested in funding research of any scale that can demonstrate it will deliver impact in the project length.

Find out more about this funding opportunity on the UKRI website.

ESRC Secondary Data Analysis Initiative (SDAI) open call

The Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) is funding the SDAI open call to deliver high-quality, high-impact research through utilising existing data resources created by ESRC and other agencies in order to address some of the most pressing challenges facing society.

Funding will be available for roughly 12-15 proposals a year, subject to quality. This may increase with the involvement of other organisations.

Project length: Up to 24 months

Closing date: None – apply at any time

Funding: Funding is provided at an overall limit of £300,000 (100% fEC) per grant.

Find out more about this funding opportunity on the ESRC website.

ESRC Research Grant

The ESRC Research Grant is aimed at individuals or research teams based at research organisations eligible for UKRI funding. Proposals can draw from the wider sciences, but the social sciences must represent more than 50% of the research focus and effort.

Project length: Up to five years

Closing date: None – apply at any time

Funding: Grants range from £350,000 to £1 million. Funding is based on the fEC of the research, with ESRC providing 80% of the cost and the research organisation covering the balance.

Find out more about this funding opportunity on the ESRC website.

Covid-19 datasets

Business Impact of Covid-19 Survey (BICS)
This new voluntary fortnightly business survey captures UK businesses’ responses on how their turnover, workforce prices, trade and business resilience have been affected.

Census 2011 for England and Wales – Household structure for Covid-19 models
These tables contain the counts of the number of households (in England and Wales) within each Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) with each specific combination of ages within it. This dataset is to be used only for Covid-19 accredited projects.

Covid-19 Wastewater data
Samples of wastewater are collected four times per week from wastewater treatment plants across England. Samples are analysed to determine the number of gene copies of SARS-CoV-2 per litre using quantitative PCR.

NHS Test and Trace Data
NHS Test and Trace data for England and Wales (updated weekly). Please note: requests for access must be approved by the Joint Biosecurity Centre Chief Data Officer.

Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain (OPN Covid-19 module)
This survey contains new indicators from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey to understand the impacts of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic on people, households and communities in Great Britain.

Death registration data for England and Wales – provisional monthly extracts
Monthly death registration data, collected as part of civil registration, provide information on deaths that occur and are then registered.

Covid-19 Infection Survey
The purpose of this dataset is to understand the prevalence of Covid-19 in the UK population, including swab results, antibody tests and demographic information.

Census 2011 and Death Registrations Linked dataset, England and Wales
This bespoke dataset contains death registrations (for deaths occurring between 2 March and 28 July 2020) linked to the 2011 Census.

Research access to the SRS

Access to the SRS is based on the ‘Five Safes’ framework:

Safe People: Only researchers accredited under the 2017 Digital Economy Act  (DEA) are able to access data in the SRS. To become an accredited researcher, researchers must demonstrate relevant academic or working experience, attend Safe Researcher Training and successfully complete an assessment. Researchers can start the application process through the Research Accreditation Service (RAS).

Safe Projects: Once a data owner has agreed in principle for their data to be used, researchers will need to demonstrate that the proposal is ethically sound and of public benefit before it is considered and reviewed by the independent Research Accreditation Panel (RAP). More information on project application can be found on the UK Statistics Authority website.

Safe Settings: Data can be accessed in Safe Rooms (at ONS sites, other government departments, academic institutions or ESRC Safe Pods) or remotely where researchers work for an organisation with an Assured Organisational Connectivity (AOC) agreement in place. Because of Covid-19 restrictions at the time of writing, all Safe Rooms are currently closed, and remote access via AOC is therefore required to access the data.

Safe Data: All data made available to researchers in the SRS is de-identified by removing personal identifiers. The SRS data catalogue, listing all datasets available within the service, can be found on the ONS website.

Safe Outputs: Researchers can only take aggregated non-disclosive outputs out of the secure environment. Once they have completed their analysis two people independently check outputs to ensure they meet the confidentiality standards that ONS applies to all outputs published as Official Statistics.

More detail on the SRS can be found on the ONS website.

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