New strategy published to unlock data and improve lives

Research Data Scotland (RDS) has published its new strategy and 2022-23 business plan.      

The strategy describes how RDS plans to collaborate with a number of partners to unlock Scotland’s already excellent public sector data, which is stored in lots of individual systems, across many different organisations.   

RDS’s mission is to promote and advance health and social wellbeing in Scotland by enabling access to public sector data about people, places and businesses.   

At the moment, much of this data from sources such as the census, school qualifications, hospital admissions, isn’t in a format that makes access or integration of data easy. Accessing data can take too long, meaning research questions remain unanswered and policy is no longer fresh or innovative.   

The strategy outlines how RDS will simplify the system by providing platforms, policies and approaches that give confidence to data controllers, researchers, and the public, and reduce cost and friction where possible. The 2022-23 business plan, which supports the strategy, stresses RDS’s collaborative approach by working ever more closely with partners like eDRIS (electronic Data Research & Innovation Service) in Public Health Scotland, National Records of Scotland and Scottish Universities.   

The focus will be on improving the speed and quality of the research data access service and a series of demonstrator projects will help bring to life the potential RDS has to offer to users. 

The documents underpin a commitment to public engagement and working with others to support dialogue activity that’s already underway.  

Professor Roger Halliday, Interim CEO of Research Data Scotland, said: “No doubt the biggest challenges facing society are adapting to a changing climate, tackling child poverty, and improving the health and wellbeing disenfranchised people and marginalised communities in Scotland.  

"Tackling these economic, environmental and economic challenges requires collaboration between people, ideas and evidence. Data has a huge role to play in unlocking our potential to having a more equal and just society.   

"I’m passionate about Research Data Scotland’s vision to create the conditions data-driven innovation to happen systematically across Scotland to enable these collaborations and save time, money and lives.”