The Administrative Data Research Network was an ESRC-funded project that ran from October 2013 to July 2018. It is currently at the end of its funding cycle and is no longer taking applications. Administrative data research will be taken forward in a new project, to be launched later in 2018.

This archival website reflects the state of play at the end of the project in July 2018. All content has been frozen and may not be up to date.

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The Administrative Data Research Network helped trained social and economic researchers access linked, de-identified administrative data in a secure environment.

Economic and social research improves our knowledge and understanding of the society we live in. It provides a sound base for policy makers to decide how to tackle a range of complex social, economic, environmental and health issues. This is what we mean by ‘better knowledge, better society’.

How the process worked

The Administrative Data Service helped researchers prepare their proposals before they went to the Approvals Panel. This independent panel determined whether the research project was:

  • ethical
  • lawful
  • feasible
  • of high scientific merit
  • of potential benefit to society

We trained researchers carefully before they could use de-identified data safely, legally and responsibly. The Network started negotiating with the data custodians – such as government organisations that hold the data – for permission to use and possibly link the requested data.

More about how data collections are de-identified and linked

The researchers analysed the linked, de-identified data in a secure environment under the guidance of Network staff, who made sure the data couldn't leave the secure environment.

Before a researcher could remove their final results from the secure environment, our staff rigorously checked that their findings:

  • were relevant to the approved research project
  • did not contain directly identifying personal information that would allow any person (or institution) to be identified

Finally, researchers gave the Network a summary of their research in plain English, and made their results available to the public and the relevant data custodians.


Page last updated: 30/07/2018