Future Data Services Senior Strategic Fellowship

Lead Research Organisation: University of the West of England
Department Name: Faculty of Business and Law


The UK has a rich and generally well-supported data services landscape. However, in the coming years there are likely to be a number of challenges in the provision of data services: recent years have seen significant changes to access rules, the legislative framework, user needs, technology, public perceptions, and so on. In addition, our understanding of how data services can best be provided has changed. There are many examples, in the UK and abroad, of good practice, effective technology, and successful communication or engagement, but it is not clear that the UK has learned lessons and disseminated knowledge appropriately.

The purpose of the Senior Strategic Fellowship is to support UKRI in its development of the UK's data services strategy for the foreseeable future, by

- helping UKRI ensure that it has a clear understanding of what its future investments are designed to achieve, and how funding can be targeted to achieve it most effectively; and
- identifying gaps, opportunities for learning, and areas of rationalisation

The UK data landscape is relatively well-endowed with leading researchers and practitioners, examples of good practice, and supportive legislation. Nevertheless, there are areas of significant learning for the UK if it is to fully leverage its existing investment, and maximise the value of future investment.

The specific objectives are to
- lead a strategic review of the data services landscape
- develop options for future long-term investments in social science data services infrastructure, paying particular attention to the different cost streams of different parts of the data services landscape
- draw up the scientific and strategic case for investment in data services by ESRC beyond 2024
- identify areas where smaller-scale investments and activities may usefully supplement major long-term investments
- develop and implement a stakeholder engagement plan for the Future Data Services programme.

Professor Felix Ritchie, the Principal Investigator, has been involved in this area for many years, advising academic, governments and data holders on their strategy and operations. He leads a highly effective multi-disciplinary network of researchers who are at the forefront of many areas of research in this field. He will bring his personal expertise and the support of his network to ensure that UKRI plans are based upon sound advice from researchers, practitioners and policy makers across all areas of data access, management, governance and use.


10 25 50
Description Semi-Automated Checking of Research Outputs
Amount £514,878 (GBP)
Funding ID MC_PC_23006 
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2023 
End 10/2023
Description SaRAS 
Organisation Leibniz Association
Department Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences
Country Germany 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Advise on developing a training matrix, good practice in training
Collaborator Contribution Leading the development ofa national training plan for confidential social science data, with partners across German universities and the Bundesbank
Impact Bid to BASE4NFDI funding (Germany), unsuccessful; now being reworked for submission to alternative funding pool.
Start Year 2022