Request for comments: Initial draft of the DARE UK federated architecture blueprint for sensitive data research
With funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the DARE UK (Data and Analytics Research Environments UK) programme launched in July 2021 to investigate the requirements and tools needed to establish a secure, interconnected, and interoperable network of Trusted Research Environments (TREs) for UK-wide sensitive data research. This effort was informed by the need to make access to various types of sensitive data safer and faster to enhance sensitive data research for the public good.
Phase 1 of this intervention, Design and Dialogue (July 2021 to March 2024), has focused on a nationwide listening exercise through consultations with data researchers, data custodians, data scientists, data engineers, and the public. The outcomes from this fact-finding mission, combined with national and international best practices, have guided the DARE UK programme in designing a model architecture for its proposed ‘federated’ network of TREs to strengthen sensitive data research. A federated network of TREs is one that enables the analysis of sensitive data across different TREs. The federation standardises security protocols between TREs, enabling them to work together coherently.
DARE UK is pleased to share the initial draft architecture blueprint for this proposed federated network of TREs for public review and comment. This marks the first step in a series of consultations that will continue in the future.
About The DARE UK Federated Architecture
The draft DARE UK Federated Architecture connects data service providers and TREs over a secure, managed data exchange network with strong safeguards for confidentiality, integrity, availability, and accountability. The federation will be managed by a central coordinating body overseen by strong national governance and will consist of a foundation layer and a core service layer.
The foundation layer contains the security features required of a high-assurance network, while the core service layer defines broad classes of provider-to-provider interaction for remote query, data movement, linkage, and indexing. On top of these layers, we envisage a broad-based ecosystem of TREs and other service providers continuing to innovate in support of their specific research communities.
We believe this approach provides the best balance between maintaining the high levels of public trust necessary for this kind of research and providing the rich analytical ecosystem researchers increasingly seek in addressing some of the key societal challenges of our age.
We value your input. Whether you are a data and research expert or a member of the public interested in how sensitive data is managed, we want to hear from you. Your unique perspectives will help us improve this draft to ensure that it meets the needs of the data and research landscape and the wider community.