Research Data Scotland (RDS) brings together expertise, resource and capabilities from a range of existing data-led programmes across the public sector in Scotland to help answer complex policy questions about people, places and business.

RDS ensures transparency about who is requesting data, which datasets and for what purpose – an important component in maintaining public trust.

The RDS researcher support service has been developed through the creation of the RDS website to provide guidance on access to data through the RDS data catalogue and information governance.

As a registered charity RDS is a collaboration between the Scottish Government, Scotland’s leading academic institutions and public bodies which aim to facilitate insight from data to support the public good. Partners include Public Health Scotland, the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research, the National Records of Scotland, the University of Edinburgh’s EPCC, Administrative Data Research UK and Scotland’s Safe Havens.


RDS offers access to a wide range of datasets from a wide range of Scotland’s public bodies to facilitate insight from data to advance health and social wellbeing in Scotland. RDS data partners include:

  • Scottish Government which provides a range of statistical and geographic data about Scotland from in a variety areas including the economy, education, health and the environment.
  • Public Health Scotland (PHS) is Scotland’s lead national agency for improving and protecting the health and wellbeing and through eDRIS provides access to administrative data.
  • National Records of Scotland collects, preserves and produces information about Scotland’s people and history and delivers access to administrative data, linkage and innovation in Scotland.
  • EPCC is a supercomputing centre based at the University of Edinburgh which aims to accelerate the effective exploitation of novel computing throughout industry, academia and commerce.
  • National Safe Haven is a secure environment where data uploaded and accessed. It offers a high powered computing service, secure analytic environment and file transfer, and a range of analytic software.
  • Regional Safe Havens in Grampian, Tayside, Lothian and Glasgow offer a secure environment where anonymised Electronic Patient Records (EPRs) data is uploaded and accessed
  • ADR UK is a partnership transforming the way researchers access the UK’s wealth of public sector data, to enable better informed policy decisions that improve people’s lives.
  • ADR Scotland is a partnership combining specialists in the Scottish Government’s Data Sharing and Linkage Unit transforming how public sector data in Scotland is curated, accessed and explored.
  • Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research (SCADR) is comprised of researchers and academics from a range of Scottish universities bringing data expertise across the social sciences.

Prof Paul Boyle, RDS Chair Board of Trustees, Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University and former chief executive of the Economic & Social Research Council says “The pandemic has shown us the benefits of doing data right, doing data together, and doing data better. Faster analysis and evidence gathering to support decision-making means better outcomes can be delivered more quickly. Now, more than ever, it is vital RDS maintains this momentum to deliver a fair and sustainable recovery for the people of Scotland. RDS brings together expertise, resource and capabilities from a range of existing data-led programmes across the public sector with a commitment to always handle data legally, using the relevant legislation to ensure that citizen privacy is always maintained and that research is carried out transparently.”

Further Information
Follow: Twitter @RDS_Scotland