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DARE UK Driver Projects provide update on public engagement work

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Research Data Scotland

26 Jul 2023

Research Data Scotland is involved with public engagement on three DARE UK Driver Projects. Find out more about two of these projects and their public engagement progress so far.

Research Data Scotland is involved with public engagement on three DARE UK Driver Projects. Find out more about two of these projects and their public engagement progress so far. 

Earlier this year, over £2 million was awarded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the UK’s largest public funder of research, to fund five Driver Projects as part of the DARE UK programme. The five projects, led by leading universities and data organisations across the UK, are working to improve and standardise secure access to data for research. 

Working in partnership with a number of partner organisations, Research Data Scotland (RDS) is leading public engagement work on two of these projects: SACRO (Semi-Automated Checking of Research Outputs), SATRE (Standardised Architecture for Trusted Research Environments) alongside supporting the TELEPORT project. 

In a recent series of blog posts, DARE UK (Data and Analytics Research Environments UK) provided an update on the SACRO and SATRE projects. 


Led by researchers at the University of the West of England, SACRO seeks to reduce the delays and costs associated with releasing research results from Trusted Research Environments (TREs). By creating a semi-automated tool that can assess the risk of releasing research outputs, SACRO envisions a future where researchers can share their findings more quickly and cost-effectively without compromising data confidentiality. 

Public involvement and engagement (PIE) has played a pivotal role in the project’s progress so far, including engaging with existing PIE groups at the Bennett Institute (based in the University of Oxford). 

In addition to involving the public throughout delivery, the SACRO project’s PIE strategy set out to achieve two primary outcomes: a literature review consolidating existing public engagement work related to output checking and a consensus statement from key stakeholders and the public outlining principles for semi-automating output checking. These outputs informed the project's direction and future related projects within DARE UK, advocating consistency in output-checking processes.

Inclusivity, collaboration and diverse perspectives have been at the forefront of the SACRO team’s engagement work to date, which has included public consultation rounds, workshops and email communication. There has been a focus on ensuring that their PIE efforts are public-friendly and accessible, ensuring that anyone and everyone can participate effectively.  

As the SACRO project reaches a midway point, the team continues to prioritise public involvement and engagement. Transparent conversation will continue through the project’s blog on Medium, and the project will be further iterated with input from three members of the public in the SACRO Steering Group. 

As the project continues to forge ahead, it carries with it the invaluable contributions of the public. The SACRO project is a testament to the power of collaboration and the promise of a future where research findings can be shared more swiftly and securely, thanks to the input of the very people it seeks to serve. 

Find out more about the SACRO project’s public engagement work


The SATRE project is comparing all openly available Trusted Research Environments (TREs) in the UK and bring them into alignment with a standardised architecture for accessing data securely.

The project’s public involvement and engagement work to date has included embedding two members of the public directly within the project team, hosting workshops to gather in-depth feedback, and ensuring open communication via a Medium blog

The outcomes of SATRE's PIE process have been highly encouraging. Participants in the workshops have provided positive feedback, highlighting their understanding and engagement with the project. The involvement of public members within the core project team has fostered a culture of inclusivity and collaboration. Challenges, such as effectively communicating technical aspects, have been acknowledged and will be addressed in future workshops in the remainder of the delivery period. 

SATRE has ambitious PIE plans for the future, including hosting more public engagement sessions across the UK, and developing clear and accessible communications materials such as explainer videos, infographics and blog posts. 

Find out more about SATRE’s public engagement work here

Robust and systematic public engagement is key to Research Data Scotland’s work. 

Katie Oldfield, Public Engagement Manager, said: “It is vital to earn and maintain public trust, but this can only happen if the public understand how their data is used and are empowered to make a genuine difference.

"Through the SATRE and SACRO projects, the public are not just being consulted on existing systems, but will also be a vital part of developing current platforms and defining the future of Trusted Research Environments.  

“We are delighted with the public engagement developments these projects have undertaken so far and look forward to growing this further over the coming months.” 

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