August 31, 2022

DARE UK publishes recommendations for a coordinated national infrastructure for sensitive data research

DARE UK has today (Wednesday 31 August) published a summary of findings and recommendations from Phase 1 of the programme to date, and has secured further funding to October 2023.

The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) DARE UK (Data and Analytics Research Environments UK) programme was established to design and deliver a coordinated and trustworthy national data research infrastructure to support research at scale for public good. Today, the programme has published the findings and recommendations to date from Phase 1 – ‘Design and Dialogue’ – which began in July 2021.

The aim of DARE UK Phase 1 has been to understand the key challenges across the data research landscape and how they can be overcome to better support data research at scale for the benefit of society. This has resulted in a set of recommendations based on input from a wide variety of stakeholders from across the sensitive data research landscape. It was achieved via a programme of engagement including over 60 hours of interviews and over 30 hours of workshops with more than 500 individuals including researchers, technologists, private sector representatives, members of the public and others.

The report makes 31 recommendations for the design and delivery of a coordinated and trustworthy national data research infrastructure across seven core areas of need: (1) demonstrating trustworthiness; (2) researcher accreditation and access; (3) accreditation of research environments; (4) data and discovery; (5) core federation services; (6) capability and capacity; and (7) funding and incentives.

Read the full report and recommendations


Hans-Erik G. Aronson, Director of DARE UK Phase 1, said: “These recommendations represent the culmination of a series of engagement activities undertaken with stakeholders from across all UKRI research domains, and the public, during the first year of DARE UK. My thanks extend to all those who have contributed their valuable input throughout the past year to help shape and refine them. The recommendations are an important first step on the road towards a more coordinated and trustworthy national data research infrastructure, to better harness the power of data for good.”

Justin O’Byrne, Co-Director of Digital Research Infrastructure at UKRI, said: UKRI embarked on the first phase of developing a national digital research infrastructure in the 2021-2022 financial year, with £17 million invested in a portfolio of interventions and pilot projects – one of which is the DARE UK programme. The UKRI Digital Research Infrastructure (DRI) programme has been allocated £129 million in the recent spending review, and I am delighted that we are able to confirm that the DARE UK programme has now been funded until October 2023 alongside the rest of the DRI programme to continue its important work in the design and delivery of a coordinated national data research infrastructure. Further prioritisation and allocations to the DRI programme will be made in the coming months to cover the rest of the Spending Review period.

Further funding and next steps

UKRI has confirmed further funding for the DARE UK programme with a total of £4.5 million from September 2022 to October 2023 as part of the UKRI Digital Research Infrastructure (DRI) programme. This additional funding comes as an extension of DARE UK Phase 1, to continue to be led in partnership with Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) and ADR UK (Administrative Data Research UK).

Due to the rising profile of funds, the DRI programme will continue in a pilot phase for financial year 2022-2023. A more substantial portfolio of projects will then be developed to commence in the financial year 2023-2024 – ‘Phase 2’. You can find out more on the UKRI website.

This further funding into DARE UK Phase 1 will enable the Delivery Team to begin to take forward some of the more immediate recommendations outlined in this report, as well as to dedicate time to further scope and refine longer-term recommendations. This will happen in continued collaboration with stakeholders from across the sensitive data research landscape, and the public. A roadmap for how the DARE UK programme will be taken forward into the extension of this first phase will be shared and discussed with the community in due course.