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RDS formalises collaboration with partner organisations

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Research Data Scotland

05 Feb 2024

Research Data Scotland (RDS) has signed Memorandums of Understanding with two partner organisations, formalising existing collaborations and outlining how they will work together in the future.

The agreements will see RDS continue to work with the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research (SCADR) and SAIL Databank to improve access to public sector data and enable researchers to more easily generate insights for the public benefit in Scotland.

SCADR is a research centre that analyses data from across the public sector, exploring what linking it in new ways can reveal. It is comprised of researchers from a range of leading institutions across Scotland including Edinburgh Napier University, University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, University of Strathclyde and University of St Andrews.

The agreement between RDS and SCADR will see both organisations continue to work collaboratively to achieve shared aims, including joint working on the ADR Scotland programme, investigating funding opportunities for collaborative development projects, and sharing insights on developments in the data landscape. The new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) builds on the existing RDS/SCADR Public Engagement and Involvement MoU, which sees the two organisations develop and maintain the ‘Scotland Talks Data’ public panel, empowering members of the public to have a voice on the use of administrative data for research.

SAIL Databank is a world-renowned Trusted Research Environment (TRE) – a highly secure computing environment which brings together a variety of information about the UK population and makes this data available for research to improve public services and increase health and wellbeing. Based within Population Data Science at Swansea University, SAIL is partially funded by Health and Care Research Wales, a networked organisation supported by Welsh Government.

Building on an existing partnership, the MoU will see RDS and SAIL highlight the insights being generated through public sector data research in the devolved nations and advocate for future developments and improvements to data access. The collaboration will involve sharing knowledge to advance both organisations’ shared goals and investigating options for collaborative working and securing joint funding.

The MoUs form part of a wider formalisation of collaborations between RDS and partner organisations, including an agreement with ADR Scotland through which RDS will help deliver core elements of the ADR Scotland programme, and service-level agreements with eDRIS (part of Public Health Scotland) and the Scottish Government.

Layla Robinson, Chief Partnership and Strategy Officer at RDS, said:

“We’re delighted to formalise our strong working relationships with SAIL and SCADR. At its core, RDS’ aim is to make it quicker and simpler to generate research that can improve lives, but we can only achieve this by working collaboratively with like-minded partners who share our vision. These agreements outline our commitment to sharing knowledge, experience and expertise, and I’m looking forward to continuing to develop our partnerships with these two leading organisations.”

Co-director at SAIL Databank, Professor David Ford, said:

“Since the COVID pandemic, there is increasing demand from the research community for access to larger population data, and for access to data held in various TREs across the UK to be more joined up. Both SAIL and RDS enable access to data which relates to relatively small core populations in Wales and Scotland respectively, and it’s important that we work together – and with other TREs across the UK – to provide an increasingly co-ordinated service. We welcome the formalisation of our partnership and the continued collaboration between our organisations.”

Renata Samulnik, SCADR Executive Manager, said:

“Our partnership with RDS on areas including the Scotland Talks Data public panel and our ongoing collaboration to deliver core elements of the ADR Scotland programme has already generated excellent insights and improvements to the Scottish data landscape. We’re pleased to formalise our partnership with RDS through this MoU and reaffirm our shared commitment to developing public sector research in Scotland.”

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