In order to apply to access SecureLab you need to meet all the access criteria and be undertaking a project that serves a public benefit.


What are the restrictions on who can apply?

The relevant access criteria for a dataset can be found on the ‘Access data’ tab of its catalogue record in the data catalogue.

Some datasets are restricted to access by researchers in institutions of UK Higher and Further Education.

With the exception of Understanding Society: Waves 1-10, 2009-2019 and Harmonised BHPS: Waves 1-18, 1991-2009: Secure Access, controlled datasets are only available to researchers who are both physically based in the UK and affiliated to a UK organisation that would take legal responsibility for their data access.

Application criteria to access controlled data


What is ‘public benefit’ and why does my project need to meet this test?

Controlled data are legally protected, so your purposes for accessing the data must be in the wider public interest: this is gauged by assessing whether your application meets public benefit criteria. The criteria vary depending on the data you’re applying for, but as an example, the criteria for data accessed via the legal gateway of the Digital Economy Act, 2017 are:

  • Provide or improve evidence bases that support the formulation, development or evaluation of public policy or public service delivery
  • Provide an evidence base for decisions that are likely to significantly benefit the UK economy, society or quality of life of people in the UK
  • Significantly extend existing understanding of social or economic trends or events, either by improving knowledge or challenging accepted analyses
  • Replicate, validate, challenge or review existing research (including official statistics) in a way that leads to improvements in the quality, coverage or presentation of existing research

Please only apply if you are able to demonstrate that your project will deliver a clear public benefit.


Can students apply?

PhD students must apply jointly with their supervisor(s). Their supervisor(s) must complete all necessary application forms and attend training as directed during the application process.

If you are an Undergraduate student and feel that your project will meet the criteria, please contact us via our web forms to discuss this further before submitting an application.