How do we work with researchers?

Researcher submits proposal for project

Project is approved by relevant bodies and panels

Researcher engages in training and may take assessment

Required data is determined, then ingested by the relevant data centre

De-identified data is made available through a trusted research environment

Researcher conducts analysis, activity of researcher is monitored 

Outputs are checked to ensure privacy of subjects

Research serving the public good is published

For example, if you would like to access linked data from the 'Growing Up in England' dataset within the Children & Young People theme, this involves being granted accreditation to access the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Secure Research Service (SRS). To access the SRS, all researchers must pass an assessment before access to the service and the data required can be granted.

More information about how to become an Accredited Researcher and access data held in the SRS can be found on the ONS website.

If you are interested in accessing data from one of the devolved centres, your route might be slightly different. For example, for administrative data curated by ADR Wales and held within the SAIL Databank, access involves a two-stage process. First, an initial application and scoping document must be drawn up, which is to be completed by a SAIL Databank analyst following a discussion about a potential project. Second, an application must be made to gain Information Governance Review Panel (IGRP) approval. For data curated by ADR Scotland, the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research (SCADR) Researcher Handbook has a wealth of information about accessing data, including tips on developing an application. Data linked and curated by ADR Northern Ireland is managed and held by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA); more information can be found on the NISRA website.

To find out more about how to access administrative data curated and held by ADR Northern Ireland, ADR Scotland and ADR Wales, please contact the relevant partner on the Contact Us page.

You can find out more about the data already available across the partnership for research projects in the public interest by visiting the ADR UK Data Catalogue.

You can learn about what ADR UK flagship datasets are available at Flagship Datasets, which are also findable in the data catalogue.

For more information on the data access journey, visit the Learning Hub page Accessing data for research.

Research funding

If you are a researcher in need of additional funding to undertake a proposed project using ADR UK-curated data, there are a number of sources that may be open to you.

ADR UK runs a number of competitive open calls, as part of our Research Fellowship Scheme, to carry out research using selected ADR UK-curated datasets. You can find out about current calls on our Funding Opportunities page.

Even if ADR UK cannot fund you directly, there are a number of other options to fund research using our datasets, including:

Please note, having already secured funding is not an essential pre-requisite for project approval by the relevant panels and data holders. It is up to you as the researcher at which stage of the project approval process you apply for funding, if you require it.

Why is ADR UK the best way for researchers to access data?


ADR UK’s approach delivers one of the richest sources of data available for economic and social researchers. By linking data ADR UK offers the opportunity to study important issues and construct a more comprehensive picture of life in the UK. Society is complex, but the public sector data we enable access to can help untangle the many factors and dynamics at play.


Working with ADR UK as a researcher means that we will be able to provide guidance and support on how best to access and utilise our datasets.


By linking our research themes to key government priorities and examining each project for public good, ADR UK ensures that the research it enables delivers maximum impact, offering researchers the opportunity to influence government policy and change lives.


Administrative data is one of the most inclusive sources of data available, with records documenting all interactions with public services, ensuring representation of marginalised and underrepresented groups. Additionally, ADR UK’s partnership structure facilitates analysis on a UK-wide scale for researchers focused on studying issues within and across the home nations.

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