Research and development

Current projects

With additional support from funders including the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Jisc, and the European Community, we continue to push the boundaries of knowledge and practice in data discovery, access and use.

EOSC-ENTRUST: A European Network of TRUSTed research environments

The UK Data Service is a contributor to this Horizon Europe project. The mission of EOSC-ENTRUST is to create a European network of Trusted Research Environments (TREs) for sensitive data and to drive European interoperability by joint development of a common blueprint for federated data access and analysis.

EOSC-ENTRUST brings together providers of operational TREs from 15 European countries with a shared goal to implement, validate and promote their capabilities through a common European framework using shared standards and common legal, operational and technical language. Targeted outreach activities will expand this open network with further providers and develop policy papers and guidelines for the full range of stakeholders to create a long-term operational TRE framework within the European Open Science Cloud.

Evaluating the benefits, costs and utility of synthetic data

The UK Data Service has been awarded funding by the Economic and Social Research Council through the UKRI Digital Research Infrastructure Fund and Administrative Data Research UK (ADR UK). This funding is part of a broader initiative to explore the potential of low-fidelity synthetic data in addressing current data challenges, enhancing data analytics, and ensuring privacy.

The project awarded to the UK Data Service will focus specifically on the perspectives of data owners and Trusted Research Environments (TREs), aiming to assess the costs, benefits, and operational implications of creating and maintaining synthetic data. Through a mixed-methods approach, this project seeks to inform strategies for the effective production and dissemination of synthetic data.


The UK Data Service is a contributor to this Horizon 2020 project, which seeks to establish the implementation of the FAIR principles across the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), in collaboration with other EOSC agencies.

International Data Access Network (IDAN)

The UK Data Service is a member of the International Data Access Network (IDAN), founded in 2018. IDAN is a collaboration between six Research Data Centres (RDCs) from France, Germany, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom to facilitate research use of controlled access data between these RDCs/countries via reciprocal provision of Safe Room Remote Desktop Access.

International Secure Data Facility Professionals Network (ISDFPN)

The International Secure Data Facility Professionals Network (ISDFPN) brings together international colleagues working in or towards setting up Secure Data Facilities, to share expertise and experiences, discuss relevant areas of work, and to spark collaboration as well as develop new ideas.

The Network is open to different disciplines including: social sciences, health and humanities. ISDFPN is unique in discussing issues not only in relation to quantitative secure data but also options for making qualitative secure data available in the future.

Population Research UK – Skills Development for Managing Longitudinal Data for Sharing

Skills Development for Managing Longitudinal Data for Sharing is a Population Research UK project which aims to increase and expand the skills and expertise available to support the wider sharing and increased use of Longitudinal Population Studies (LPS) data resources.

Safe Data Access Professionals (SDAP) Network

The SDAP network facilitates the sharing of expertise, good practice and knowledge between organisations providing, or intending to provide, secure access to confidential data from the health, economics, and social science research sectors.

The network holds regular meetings and produces guides and resources for those working within the data landscape. Across 2021-2024 ESRC funding is supporting the network to plan strategically how to meet the needs of a rapidly developing landscape and community of secure data access professionals.

Past projects