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PhD Studentship – administrative data, University of Glasgow

Monday, 8 December 2014

The School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow are inviting applications from outstanding quantitative social scientists (or from other relevant disciplines) with an interest in pioneering the use of administrative data to examine the problems of multimorbidity (the co-existence of 2 or more chronic conditions within an individual) and the role played by health and social care services. The PhD studentship is funded collaboratively by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Doctoral Training Centre on behalf of the ESRC.

The successful applicant will have an interest in the substantive problems of multimorbidity and in the challenges of understanding the role of health and social care services in the development of health conditions. They will be keen to exploit the potential offered by rapidly-expanding access to linked administrative datasets but also keen to explore critically the strengths and weaknesses of such data.

Further details are available from here.

ADRC Scotland – data linkage and access scoping report

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The Administrative Data Research Centre – Scotland has produced an  overview of the regulatory context in which administrative data linkages currently operate in Scotland, highlighting the crucial legal and ethical issues which arise from the current mixed legal landscape under which administrative data linkages operate.

Adopting an approach that takes into account both the risks and the benefits that can be achieved through administrative data linkage research in the public interest, the report argues for a principles-based approach to the governance of administrative data used for research purposes.

The paper is available to download from here.

ADRC-Scotland vacancy: Senior Research Fellow

Thursday, 24 July 2014

The Administrative Data Research Centre – Scotland is currently advertising for the post of Senior Researcher working in the area of social science data analysis and statistics.

The innovative nature of the Centre’s activities requires an energetic and intellectually dexterous researcher with skills in the area of quantitative social science, statistics or data science and excellent research and person management skills.  The Senior Researcher will work closely with the Centre’s Research Fellows, and will be expected to carry out original research, specifically using the major Scottish administrative datasets.

For more details on this post click here.

ADRC-England vacancy: Research Associate

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The Administrative Data Research Centre for England (ADRC-E) is currently recruiting for a  Research Associate.

The ADRC-E is an ESRC-funded collaboration between the University of Southampton and four Institutions within Bloomsbury (UCL, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Institute of Education and the Institute of Fiscal Studies).The ADRC-E aims to widen the use of linked electronic records for research, thereby opening up a new era in research to inform for policy, service development and understanding of people’s lives.

The research associate will join a team of experts to work on methodological developments to underpin widening of the use of linked administrative data for research and on exemplar studies to illustrate the value of linked data analyses for policy makers, services and the public. Initially the post holder will focus on studies related to services for children and young people, using data from health care and education sectors but will be expected to gain expertise across age groups and other data sources. S/he will also provide support to external approved users of ADRC-E linked data and will contribute to capacity building through teaching and supervision of postgraduate students.

The post is available immediately and is funded initially for 36 months.  Further information on the post is available from here.

Forthcoming International Data Linkage Talks – Scotland

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Professor John Bass from the University of Tasmania will be delivering the following data linkage talks in Scotland this year:

1. National and International Data Linkage – top down or bottom up?
How do we create a national, let alone international, linkage? At the national level, projects rarely have the time and willingness to pay attention to detail, and tend to create “broad brush” data. Small local entities often take pride in making use of local knowledge to create high-quality linkage. Is it possible to have a big picture that still reflects the quality of linkage found in a local cancer registry? It’s easier than you might think!

Date: Friday 23rd May at 4pm at the University of Glasgow, Level 5 Meeting Room, Sir Alwyn Williams Building, Lilybank Gardens, G12 8QQ.
Further details: Available from here.

2. There’s more to data linkage than just making links.
At first sight all you need to do data linkage is find a linkage engine—a program that finds links between records. For short-term projects that is usually enough. If you want to do a long-term linkage, continually adding new data and linking it into your system, that’s another story. This master class goes through almost 20 years, during which an innocent project leader managed to trip over just about every obstacle—most of them unexpected. Battered, bruised, scarred, but still cheerful, he is still alive. Now he’s happy to take you through the journey. Come and find out about it; it might save you a lot of tears and tribulation!

Date: Thursday, 29 May 2014 between 2.15pm and 5.15pm at the Postgraduate Centre, Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton, Edinburgh, EH14 4AS.
Further details and booking: Available from here.

Professor Bass has been at the leading edge of health-related data linkage in Australia since 1984. E arly work on infant mortality in Western Australia resulted in a linked dataset that became the cornerstone of the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research. He then implemented the Australian National Death Index in Canberra before returning to Perth as the founding manager of the Western Australian linked health data project—the first of its kind in the country.  He designed and implemented the technical system of this group, which is widely recognised as the foremost data linkage unit in Australia. 

ESRC consultation: Legal barriers to accessing administrative data

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

In its work in 2012, the Administrative Data Taskforce (ADT) considered the barriers being faced by academic and government researchers seeking to access administrative data for research purposes. Although some constraints identified were resourcing or cultural barriers within data owning departments, the ADT discussed the legal barriers that exist across the UK that prevent or inhibit the sharing of data from some key data owning departments.

The ADT included within its report a section on legislation, and proposed that a new generic legislative power was ultimately required if the full opportunities and benefits of using and sharing administrative data is to be realised.  Last summer the Cabinet Office started to consider the possibility of new data sharing legislation. Their work has drawn heavily on the information collected for, and the recommendations published by the ADT in order to inform the development of the strand on research and statistics.

On 27 February 2014, a group of civil society organisations and experts led by the Cabinet Office and the INVOLVE charity met with government officials to begin to explore whether a collaborative and open policy process could be developed around the issue of data sharing within government. More information about INVOLVE is available from here

In the context of this consultation, the ESRC has been asked to identify any further examples from the academic community for the following:

1. Unsuccessful attempts to access administrative data from government due to legislative barriers.
If so, a small paragraph explaining the research being proposed, using which data, what happened, and the implication on the research and what the benefits may have been if the legislation had not prevented the research being undertaken would be much appreciated.

2. Examples of data sharing that have been permitted and have led to impact and public benefit, ideally from the breadth of social sciences.

For these examples to be most effective, it would be better if they were recent, i.e. within the last two years. The anonymity of researchers and institutions will be protected by removing any information that may identify specific researchers, teams or institutions, ahead of sharing with the Cabinet Office, unless you indicate you are happy to be identified.

Large government departments have already been asked to provide examples of research using administrative data that has been stalled due to legislation. The ESRC need to provide equally strong and concrete examples of how the current legislative landscape prevents academics from accessing administrative data and constrains academic research of high quality and impact to take place.

Your help is very much appreciated in the matter and will strengthen the case for new and better legislation for access to administrative data for research.

As the activity of the Cabinet Office and INVOLVE is now progressing at speed, the ADLS would appreciate responses to this consultation by Friday the 9th of May.

Further enquiries and responses should be sent to

Administrative Data Research Network vacancies

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Administrative Data Research Network  is currently advertising the following vacancies:

Administrative Data Research Centre Scotland
1. Senior Research Fellow in Social Science Research.  Full details are available from here.
2. Research Fellow in Social Science Research x 2. Full details are available from here.

Administrative Data Research Centre Wales
1. Administrative Officer.
2. Data Manager / Research Officers (x2).
3. Research Officers (x2).
4. Senior Research Officer.
5. Communications Officer.
6. Research Information Governance Officer.

Full details on these posts are available from here.

ESRC expression of interest: Prefabricated sensitive data secure room awards

Monday, 17 February 2014

In October 2013, David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science, announced the recipients of the first phase of the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) £64 million funding of investment in Big Data. Four new innovative administrative data research centres and a data service as part of the Administrative Data Research Network (ADRN) will strengthen the UK’s competitive advantage in Big Data. These ESRC investments will enable researchers, across the UK to securely access administrative data (i.e. data currently collected and held by government departments and other organisations for their operational purposes).

To enable researchers within academic institutions across the UK, with limited or no access to secure data access facilities, the ESRC is making an additional investment in prefabricated sensitive data secure rooms (SafePods), which measure approximately 2m x 2m x 2m.

A SafePod will provide accredited researchers with remote access to sensitive data held at ADRCs (and possibly for other sensitive data that need to be accessed from a secure setting) via a thin client over a separate secure network.  No data will be held within the SafePod

Full details about the SafePods, application and awards process is available from here.

SAIL Databank Analyst vacancy

Thursday, 13 February 2014

The Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) Databank are currently advertising for a Data Analyst position, based at the University of Swansea.  The applicant will be responsible for data quality, documentation, supporting projects and providing guidance on using the SAIL system.  More information is available from here.

Administrative Data training events

Thursday, 13 February 2014

The new ESRC-funded Administrative Data Research Centre for England (ADRC-E) based at the University of Southampton, is pleased to announce its first series of short courses, open to all, which are being organised as part of the CASS short courses programme.  Courses cover a wide variety of topics including an introduction to administrative data, data linkage and analysis, National Pupil Database and using administrative data to analyse the impact of policy initiatives. 

Further information on the courses are available from

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