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About Smart Data Research

About us

Smart Data Research UK is the national programme for smart data research. Backed by UK government funding, we are a UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) data infrastructure programme.   

Our mission   

Smart Data Research UK’s mission is to unlock the power of data to improve lives. We bring together companies, academics, innovators and government to understand our world better and help solve social and economic challenges. We will do this by providing secure data access, being a trustworthy programme for the public and building capability for cutting-edge research.  

We are making it easier to use new forms of data generated through everyday interactions with digital devices – including mobile apps, digital marketplaces, social media, wearables, satnavs, sensors and smart technology.  

Delivered by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), Smart Data Research UK builds on nearly 60 years of experience in developing data infrastructures for research. Our work has been shaped by researchers, data experts, industry leaders, policymakers and the public to position the UK at the forefront of smart data research and innovation.

Our objectives   

We’ll provide secure data access by:  

  • building long-term partnerships with data owners  
  • delivering secure, effective digital research infrastructure  

We’ll be a trustworthy programme for the public by:  

  • demonstrating responsible research practices  
  • championing public engagement in smart data research  

We’ll build capability for cutting-edge research by:  

  • leading a thriving and skilled interdisciplinary research community  
  • solving methodological and technical challenges  

We’ll generate social and economic benefits by:  

  • supporting research that addresses significant social and economic challenges  
  • tracking and communicating the benefits of smart data research 

Ethics and responsibility 

Improving lives is the core mission of Smart Data Research UK. The safe, secure and responsible handling of data underpins our work. Rigorous safeguards are used to protect personal information, in full compliance with data protection law. 

To earn public trust, the public needs to be actively heard, engaged and involved in decisions around how their data is used. We will put this at the centre of its work through a programme of public engagement. 

Learn more about how we ensure data is used ethically and responsibly.

Our team   

Our team is led by Joe Cuddeford, Director of Smart Data Research UK. We are overseen by a board chaired by Professor Alison Park, Deputy Executive Chair of the ESRC.   

Our strategic advice team is led by Professor Rachel Franklin and provides advice and guidance on scientific and strategic matters.   

We are currently growing our team and when fully operational we will have:

  • Several data services, comprising teams of experts based at research institutes across the country. They will build partnerships with data owners and provide secure access to data for researchers.
  • A strategic hub, based at ESRC, that will provide leadership and coordination across the services.

Contact us  

Our team is on hand to answer any queries you have: smartdataresearch@ukri.org 

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