University of Edinburgh 2022-2026 ADR UK Programme

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Geosciences

Abstract

Administrative data (that is, information collected primarily for administrative purposes) has long contributed to central government and other statistics. Technological advancement has resulted in the formation of very large administrative databases held by government, and by specialist agencies across the UK. The existence of such databases raises the possibility that administrative data could become, in an anonymised form, a core resource for social science academic research.

During the pilot phase of ADR UK the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research (SCADR) has, together with partners in the Scottish Government, delivered a series of policy-relevant projects based on the linking of novel sets of administrative data. In the next phase of ADR UK we aim to work with government to deliver a programme of impactful research in strategically important policy areas which demonstrates the value of investment in administrative data infrastructure, and to act as a centre for methodological, intellectual and policy innovation.

Our five policy-critical research strands are:
- Housing, Health and Welfare, which responds to the Scottish Government's key themes of inclusive growth, health and equality and will access new data to look at the interaction of health and labour market, and wealth and housing.
- Health and Social care, which will have a focus on end of life care (supporting the government manifesto commitment to develop a palliative end of life care strategy) and, drawing on new data, examine the dynamics of the nursing workforce.
- Community Safety and Equality will examine how to improve safety and equality across communities by linking data from law enforcement, justice and health. Studies will examine frequent and overlapping user demand for public services and provide insights on complex problems such as violence, problem drug use and rising crime.
- Children's Lives and Outcomes will focus on three areas: (1) the scarring effect of COVID-19 on aspects of young people's progress, (2) deepening the understanding the attainment gap and (3) support the data needs resulting from government policies such as the incorporation of the UNCRC into Scots Law.
- Lifelong Health and Wellbeing aims to provide evidence in support of Public Health Scotland's 'Fairer, healthier Scotland strategic framework', designing projects that explore how different factors can impact on people's lives and health as they age and identify interventions and policy areas that will help reduce health inequalities.

A cross-cutting research theme will address issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences for society. This will continue to explore longer term outcomes and recovery and will be expanded to include any further emerging priorities over the next four years.

A world-leading aspect of our work is the creation of new study cohorts that can be made available for research use. In the next four years we will undertake a major programme of work that will reconstruct families over multiple generations (called the Scottish Historical Population Platform, or SHiPP). Ultimately the data could (with appropriate safeguards for anonymity of the individual) be linked to biomedical data, opening up the opportunity to investigate the role of genes, environment and social mobility - linking living conditions, family structure and genomics.

The researchers involved in SCADR will work closely with colleagues in the Scottish Government on the development of core national linked datasets on equalities, vulnerable people and families, prisoners and health, a care leaver's dataset and a study of drug deaths.

SCADR will continue its commitment to build research capacity though expansion of its training programmes and by working with partners and data controllers to develop better information about how to access data and about the datasets themselves.

Publications

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