It has been announced today (28 September 2020) that ADR UK has secured a further year of funding to continue the programme – set up by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to transform the way researchers access the UK’s wealth of public sector data – until March 2022.
The funding, worth more than £15 million, was approved by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). BEIS also endorsed ADR UK’s vision for a further five years of operation, with the final decision on continued funding for this period to be confirmed after the UK Government’s upcoming Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), as part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)’s overall funding settlement.
The confirmed extra year brings the funding of all ADR UK partners – including ADR Scotland, ADR Wales, ADR Northern Ireland, the Office for National Statistics (ONS), and the ADR UK Strategic Hub team embedded within ESRC – into line. It ensures policy-relevant data linking and research projects across the UK can continue with no loss of vital skills, infrastructure and momentum that have been built up during the first three years of ADR UK, and its predecessor investments.
ADR UK was initially funded as a three-year pilot programme, with £44 million of funding drawn from the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF), which exists to help deliver the UK Government’s industrial strategy. The extra year of funding will continue to be drawn from this source.
Dr Emma Gordon, Director of ADR UK, said: “We are delighted to have secured this continued funding, giving all of our partners the certainty they need to continue vital administrative data linking and research to inform policy decisions, and improve public services and the lives of people across the UK.
“This funding extension, as well as the endorsement of our five-year vision, is testament to the expertise and hard work of colleagues across the ADR UK partnership. It demonstrates that we now have a tried-and-tested model that works, and which is on track to deliver tangible benefits for both public policy and the wider research community.
“We are now an important step closer to realising our long-term vision of being the default choice to host linked administrative data from across the entirety of UK and devolved government, making it accessible to a deep pool of trained researchers to generate insights routinely used to inform policy and practice.”
Professor Jennifer Rubin, Executive Chair of ESRC, and Senior Responsible Officer for ADR UK, said: “ADR UK is a key ESRC data infrastructure investment, and to have this further commitment is strongly welcomed.
“In the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are at a coming of age moment for administrative data. The questions we ask now, the data we collect, and how we link and analyse it, are crucial to navigating the current period, learning, and emerging stronger and more resilient for the future.
“Data infrastructure established as part of the ADR UK programme has already proved its worth in informing the Covid-19 response, and there is much more to do – for instance, linking health, social and economic data to understand the disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on minority ethnic communities, and the systemic vulnerabilities and inequalities that underly them. With renewed funding, ADR UK stands ready to help provide many of the answers.”