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Strategy and business plan

Research Data Scotland (RDS) is working to provide a single point of contact for safe, secure and effective access to public sector datasets for research and innovation.


Data is often locked away in lots of individual systems, across many different organisations, and isn’t in a format that makes access or integration easy. Researchers need to know what data is available, the quality of data, and how it can be accessed quickly. These are often difficult questions to answer, which means delaying – or even completely missing – the chance to save time, money and lives.  

If researchers lack quick and secure access to good quality data, the country lacks the insights to improve public policy and decision-making, and the public are less likely to benefit from new treatments and interventions that enhance their wellbeing. This is where RDS comes in.  

Our strategy 

We help to improve quality of life for people in Scotland by making it easier for decision-makers to base their insights on good quality evidence built on good quality data. Currently, our main role is to work with organisations to simplify and speed up the way that researchers access data.

Download our strategy

Our strategy sets out how we’re collaborating with our partners to unlock Scotland’s public sector data.

Research Data Scotland Strategy (DOCX 131.23 KB)

Our business plan  

In our third year as an independent charity, our 2024-2025 business plan focuses on RDS's work across four key areas: aligning approaches, demonstrating trustworthiness; shaping and delivering researcher services; unlocking Scotland’s data; and a sustainable system.

Download our business plan

Read our latest business plan to find out how we’re delivering our priorities while building the foundations of a sustainable long-term business.

Business Plan 2024 to 25 (PDF 668.94 KB)

Our future 

In addition to our current work, we will go on to:  

  • Drive transformative changes to the system to enable quicker access to public sector data with less friction to researchers 
  • Create new data assets, and secure and maintain sets of deidentified data  
  • Develop new services, such as the use of synthetic data, to improve researcher experience  
  • Provide and widen a catalogue of data sources along with essential information that researchers need to know, such as security requirements, use restrictions, access requirements, timescales and more  
  • Help researchers navigate their way through these factors to speed up their work and provide a single point of contact for safe, secure and effective access to public sector data Make it easier for data owners to share their data for public good  
  • Provide data analysis services.

Highlights and Impact

In our first Highlights and Impact review, discover how we're working to connect researchers to public sector data and make it faster and simpler to generate research.

Explore the review Explore the review
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More about RDS

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How we work

We help researchers find and make use data that can improve the lives of people in Scotland.

Vision and mission
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Our partners

We work with the Scottish Government and Scotland’s leading academic institutions and public bodies. 

Meet our partners
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Our people

We are a small team comprising experts in a wide range of disciplines.

Meet our team

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