A year of engagement with the research community

Building and sustaining relationships across the research community has a fundamental role to play in ADR UK’s ability to fulfil its mission. This type of engagement ensures researchers’ perspectives are fully represented in our work, enabling us to support public good research in the most effective way. This past year has seen us make great strides in this work, as we have grown our relationships across the sector and sought new ways to engage.   

Inspiring new researchers to join our field 

We’ve been working with researchers to increase their awareness of and confidence in using administrative data. In partnership with the UK Statistics Authority, ADR UK has piloted a roadshow of workshops across UK research organisations. These workshops provided an introduction to administrative data; trusted research environments; and the range of ADR UK flagship datasets. They aimed to raise awareness of the potential of linked administrative data for public good research. Over the course of the roadshow, we reached over 300 new researchers.  

In April, ADR UK attended the Royal Economic Society’s annual conference. This allowed us to engage a new audience of economics researchers with the possibilities of administrative data to answer questions around education, labour market outcomes and wage dynamics. We are increasingly looking to attend these types of conferences to drive up awareness of the potential of administrative data and engage a wider pool of researchers in the field.   

Empowering researchers to shape our work 

At ADR UK, we take pride in the close relationships we develop that enable researchers to feed directly into our work. The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA), part of ADR Northern Ireland, is engaging with government and academic researchers to identify gaps in their current research-data portfolio, feedback on current themed datasets and explore potential improvements.  

In December 2022, the first cohort of ADR UK Research Fellowships using ADR England data – researchers using the Data First magistrates’ and Crown Court dataset – completed their fellowships. The ADR UK Strategic Hub has found engaging with the fellows to evaluate the fellowship very helpful in shaping future fellowship funding opportunities. Evaluation has taken the form of interviews and surveys and has resulted in changes to the number of fellowship publications, a revised support model, and adaptations to the length and structure of future fellowships.    

Sharing knowledge through researcher events 

Facilitating and participating in events for researchers has been a major cross-partnership activity this year. These events present an unparalleled opportunity to exchange knowledge and perspectives and to hear from researchers first-hand. Alongside our regular facilitation of the Researcher Network Symposium – which brings together ADR UK affiliated researchers to share their findings and ideas – we piloted a similar event for the wider research community. The ADR UK Researcher Symposium on health and wellbeing demonstrated the power of administrative data in generating actionable insights for an audience who were less familiar with these ideas.  

Earlier this year, ADR Scotland ran an Education Data in Scotland event, exploring existing and future education-related datasets with researchers and data owners. This helped to extend the team’s network in this area and raise the profile of the data, which has a range of linkage possibilities. Similarly, the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research hosted an event: ‘Unlocking data to better understand the nursing & midwifery workforce’ at the Nursing and Midwifery Council headquarters, to showcase the potential of using UK nursing and midwifery registration data. Attended by a range of nursing experts, policymakers and researchers, this event helped to establish a community of users and identify new opportunities to use this data.   

The Office for National Statistics (ONS)’s Research Capability 2022 event provided an opportunity for researchers using data held securely by the ONS to come together for a range of interactive workshops and inspiring keynote speeches. The event also saw the presentation of five Research Excellence Awards, celebrating innovative data analysis and real-world impact.  

Across ADR UK, preparations are now well underway for the ADR UK Conference 2023, delivered in partnership with the ONS. Taking place in November, the conference will include a variety of sessions to engage researchers and other practitioners with the conference theme: Public data for resilience and inclusion: Using administrative data to inform policy and practice in challenging times. Find out more.  


Building new partnerships for engagement

To ensure that ADR UK can continue to engage with researchers in effective and innovative ways, collaboration across and outside of the partnership is key. This year, we have piloted a mentoring programme to accompany Research Fellowships funding opportunities using ADR England flagship datasets. The scheme pairs applicants with current and former ADR UK Research Fellows, building new connections and providing support for researchers who are earlier in their career, or less familiar with administrative data.   

ADR Wales is facilitating cross-partnership engagement, through the work of the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) Databank to support the development of Research Data Scotland. This cross-partnership activity enables engagement and knowledge sharing across strategy, data management and public engagement, to ensure that both researchers across both partnerships can benefit from each other’s experiences now and in the future.  

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