Secondary Data Analysis Initiative

The ESRC has invested in promoting secondary analysis through its Secondary Data Analysis Initiative (SDAI).

The aim is to deliver high-quality high-impact research through the deeper exploitation of major data resources created by ESRC and other agencies.

The first two phases of the initiative, started in 2012, have enabled researchers from any social science subject area to undertake smaller, focused, impact-generating projects using any pre-existing dataset, with funding of up to £200,000 for a maximum of 18 months. Phase 2 of the initiative also included a focus on co-production of knowledge and required partnerships with non-academic organisations.

By 2015, over 79 grants had been awarded covering disciplines of Economics, Demography and Human Geography, Social Policy, Sociology and Psychology. The most popular datasets proposed for use were Understanding Society/the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), the Millennium Cohort Study, the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), the UK Census and the Labour Force Survey (LFS).

Phase 3 of the initiative honed in on maximising the use of key ESRC-funded data resources and infrastructure and developing the capacity of early career researchers to undertake research using complex data resources.

From December 2015, ESRC funding for this initiative has been awarded through an open competition. This new process allows researchers greater flexibility in the timing and focus of their proposals. It will also enable the ESRC to meet new strategic priorities, target particular datasets (for example around the release of a new wave of data), and provide more opportunity to work with partner organisations.

Proposals are welcome at any time. Funding is provided for up to 18 months with an overall limit of £200,000 (100 per cent fEC) per grant. The call is open and operates alongside the ESRC’s Research Grants open call. Proposals will be considered by a new Grants Assessment Panel (GAP) that will meet for the first time in July 2016.

Further information about the SDAI open funding call can be found on the ESRC website.

The UK Data Service has worked closely with the ESRC to provide promotion of key data and peer reviewing applications. Keen to develop case studies and develop knowledge exchange from the three phases of this project, we have helped produce this impact leaflet. We would welcome discussion of any valuable data sources used in the research, that we don’t currently hold.

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