On Monday 23rd March, 2015, Jane Hutt AM, Minister for Finance and Government Business, officially launched the Administrative Data Research Centre Wales at an event at Swansea University.
The Administrative Data Research Centre Wales, led by Swansea University’s College of Medicine in partnership with the Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD) at Cardiff University, is one four centres forming the Administrative Data Research Network – a UK wide Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded data infrastructure that will facilitate access to de-identified administrative data to support economic and social research that has the potential to benefit society.
The Administrative Data Research Centre Wales will work with accredited researchers to facilitate access to, and linking of de-identified data on themes such as education, health and social mobility data as well as many other long standing records from different government departments.
The aim of the Centres is to facilitate research using de-identified linked administrative data in a safe, secure and lawful manner that at all times protects individual privacy, resulting in research that can provide a sound evidence base for policy makers to decide how best to tackle a range of complex social, economic, environmental and health issues.
Professor David Ford, Director of the Administrative Data Research Centre Wales said:
“No matter which part of the UK one lives in, we can be sure that Society is changing rapidly around us. Pretty much everyone wants to live in a fair and supportive world enjoying a good standard of living. But history has shown us that this is a hard ambition to realise. Society is a very complex thing and is never static. One advantage we have over previous generations is that we now have available a vast and growing array of data that can help explain how modern society works, and which can be used to assess the impacts of changes that are made.
“ADRC Wales, working with academics across Wales and the UK, is a marvellous new initiative, which will revolutionise the way in which we use data to improve society. Building on our acknowledged reputation for the safe and trustworthy use of complex social data, the Administrative Data Research Centre Wales will be the focal point for data-related research in Wales, and be a major player in UK-wide efforts to transform research and policy environments.”
Welsh Government Minister for Finance and Government Business, Jane Hutt AM, said:
“The launch of this Centre in Wales is another success for our higher education institutions who are at the forefront of work in this area. By using data across different topic areas in a responsible, safe and secure manner it provides an innovative opportunity to further develop our evidence base on which to make decisions and understand what works. Welsh Government looks forward to working with the Centre in the years ahead to maximise the benefits it can bring.”
Dr Fiona Armstrong, Deputy Director Policy, Resources and Communications, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) said:
“The ESRC is proud to play a leadership role in supporting a robust data infrastructure for social science. The Administrative Data Research Centre Wales, in association with the wider network, will help to ensure that the UK is in a position to fully exploit our rich data resources, which will benefit researchers, government, and local communities.”
The process by which data is linked is integral to the Administrative Data Research Network and four Centres. Using an independent secure linking facility, data collected from different government bodies can be linked together so accredited researchers can analyse a more inclusive set of data in more depth.
The Administrative Data Research Network consists of four Administrative Data Research Centres, one in each country in the UK and the Administrative Data Service, which coordinates the Network. The Administrative Data Research Network is a £34 million investment by the ESRC and is the first phase of a series of ESRC investments in Big Data.
The launch was attended by a wide audience including representatives from academia, the community and voluntary sector and government officials. Speakers at the event included Professor David Ford, Director of the Administrative Data Research Centre Wales, Dr Fiona Armstrong, Deputy Director Policy, Resources and Communications, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and researchers who outlined their previous work using linked data and the opportunities for rich and insightful outcomes that can be attained by linking data.
Please follow this link to the presentations that were made on the day and also a copy of a leaflet outlining the Administrative Data Research Centre Wales.