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RDS leads public engagement work on three DARE UK Driver Projects

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Research Data Scotland

28 Feb 2023

Research Data Scotland (RDS) is proud to support three projects that are set to receive funding from Data and Analytics Research Environments UK (DARE UK).

Over £2 million has been 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. 

RDS is leading on the patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE) in three of these projects, working in partnership with several other organisations for each. We are proud to be involved in the following DARE UK funded projects:

SATRE: Standardised Architecture for Trusted Research Environments, led by researchers at the University of Dundee. RDS will work with the Alan Turing Institute, HDR UK, Ulster University and UCL on this project. 

SACRO: Semi-Automated Checking of Research Outputs, led by researchers at the University of the West of England. This project will see RDS collaborate with the Bennett Institute at the University of Oxford, eDRIS at Public Health Scotland, HDR UK, NHS Scotland, University of Aberdeen and University of Dundee. 

TELEPORT: Connecting researchers to big data at light speed, led by researchers at the University of Swansea. RDS partners involved in this project are eDRIS at Public Health Scotland and EPCC.

Layla Robinson, RDS Partnership and Strategy Director, said:

"Public engagement is key to our work, and we’re delighted to support these projects as part of our commitment to robust and systematic public engagement. Ensuring that data access processes are safe and secure is key to building public trust in the way their data is used, and these three projects are important new developments in this area. 

"By building on existing work around trusted research environments (TREs), the Driver Projects align closely with RDS’s mission to make research simpler and quicker and ultimately improve lives, while ensuring data access remains just as safe and secure. We are looking forward to working with our partners to engage patients and the public in these exciting new developments."


Other successful recipients of the DARE UK Driver Project fund are: 

TRE-FX: Delivering a federated network of TREs to enable safe data analytics, led by researchers at the University of Manchester 

SARA: Semi-Automated Risk Assessment of Data Provenance and Clinical Free-text in TREs, led by researchers at the University of Edinburgh

“Public engagement is key to our work, and we’re delighted to support these projects as part of our commitment to robust and systematic public engagement.”

Layla Robinson, RDS Partnership and Strategy Director

Driver Project aims

All five Driver Projects will take a leading role in informing the design of what will be a UK-wide network of trusted research environments – highly secure digital environments that provide access to sensitive data for analysis by accredited researchers. This is to support cross-domain data research for public good – for example, research about education, health, the environment and more, and how these different aspects of our lives interact with each other.

When sensitive data is made accessible for research, it is de-identified (all personal identifiable information is removed) and held in TREs, which have a series of strict security measures to prevent re-identification and protect against data misuse. This enables researchers to securely analyse the data as part of important projects in the public good. 

Currently, different TREs across the UK follow different standards and processes, making it difficult for researchers to conduct analysis on multiple datasets held across different TREs. The five Driver Projects will explore solutions to developing more standardised approaches to running and governing TREs, so that data can be more easily analysed across them in a safe, secure and efficient way. 

Each of the Driver Projects will run for nine months from February to October 2023, and their outputs will be shared publicly via the DARE UK website in late 2023. To find out more about each of the funded projects and what they hope to achieve, please visit the DARE UK Driver Projects page


This article has been adapted from a news story first published by DARE UK 

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