Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods
Sefydliad Ymchwil Gymdeithasol ac Economaidd, Data a Dulliau Cymru

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Administrative Data Research Centre Wales (ADRC)

Funders(s): Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)

Funding: £8m (£2m to WISERD and £6m to Swansea)

Start Date: October 2013

End Date: September 2018

Principle Investigator: David Ford (Swansea)


Cardiff University

Ian Rees Jones

Rhys Davies

Victoria Macfarlane

Chris Taylor

Peter Mackie

Scott Orford

Martin Innes

Andy Pithouse


Ronan Lyons

Kerina Jones

Kevin Haines

David Blackaby

Judith Phillips


Paul Burton 



Institutions Involved: Swansea, Cardiff & Bristol Universities; HIRU & WISERD

External Partners: 

Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, Data & Methods (WISERD)

Swansea’s Research Centre for Criminal Justice and Criminology

The Farr Instititue - Centre for Improvement in Population Health through E-records Research (CIPHER)

The Universities’ Police Science Institute (UPSI)

Cardiff Centre for Crime, Law and Justice

The Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement(DECIPHer)

The Older People and Ageing R&D Network in Wales

Swansea Research Institute for Applied Social Sciences (RIASS)


The Administrative Data Research Centre Wales (ADRC Wales) is a collaborative venture between the Universities of Swansea and Cardiff. The Centre is part of the Administrative Data Research Network (ADRN). The Administrative Data Research Network (ADRN) has been created to make the vast amount of information collected by different government departments and agencies available for academic research.

This information, held by the government, is generally referred to as administrative data. It contains a wealth of information about our society. Social researchers can use it to analyse the impact of government policies, or find new explanations for what happens in our everyday lives.

The ADRN wants to help academic researchers have access to this information, while making sure the data collections are safe and de-personalised. 

ADRC Wales provides support and facilities for researchers to carry out analysis using administrative data. The centre has access facilities based at both Cardiff and Swansea Universities.

Further information:

Administrative data is the term used to refer to the datasets collected by the Government and other public bodies which, amongst other things, is used to generate information to guide policy and the development of public services. Some examples are the Census and National Household Surveys, and datasets about education, health and social services, employment and benefits, crime, housing, the environment and the economy. These datasets hold great value for research, especially if they are linked together. However, as information about individuals is very sensitive, the linkage process must be very carefully managed so that it is anonymous, safe and secure, and used only in the public interest by approved researchers.

Data linkage research is the term applied to the development of methods of bringing datasets together and linking them so that important public issues (such as education, crime and employment) can be studied in relation to each other. There are a range of techniques to make sure that the linked datasets used by researchers are kept anonymous throughout.  ADRC Wales is a powerful new centre specialising in making UK-wide administrative data safely available for research.  The Centre has a strong team, with a wealth of experience in data linkage and in economic and social research. 

The main aim of ADRC WALES is to create a world-class administrative data research centre,  that is widely known for its ability to access, link and make safe use of data for high quality research. Our work will be underpinned by a robust Governance framework. ADRC Wales has a set of objectives, these are to:

  • Provide powerful, robust, state-of-the art data linkage and data access facilities. This will include highly secure 'safe rooms' where researchers will work on the data.
  • Run a high quality, equitable and efficient 'customer focused' user support service, free at the point of access, ensuring that the analytical opportunities provided by  ADRC Wales are accessible to the widest possible community of researchers
  • Create a rich linked administrative data resource for the UK research community, by enabling datasets from different organisations to be used together safely.
  • Carry out original research using linked administrative data. This will include developing new methods for data linkage, working with government, law and ethics bodies on the Governance of data use, and working with the general public and organisations to understand their views on data linkage. We will work with other researchers to answer important social and economic research questions.
  • Provide a range of high-quality training and development opportunities for researchers, public service professionals and policy makers.
  • Involve members of the public in the work of ADRC Wales, and engage with the public to raise awareness of data linkage research, to understand the concerns they may have, and to seek to provide reassurance.
  • Build good working relationships and collaborations within the Administrative Data Research Network (ADRN), with Welsh Government, other UK governments, and their National Statistical Agencies (NSAs), the economic and social science research community and health researchers.



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