EVENT: How can councils enhance their utilisation of data for research, evaluation, and decision-making?

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In the last webinar of the season Abdinasir Kowdan and Orla Dunn will be presenting a talk on “How can councils enhance their utilisation of data for research, evaluation, and decision-making?” This engaging webinar promises to delve into the crucial role of data in informing decision-making processes within local councils.

Their research aims to explore strategies and best practices that can empower councils to leverage data more effectively, fostering evidence-based decision-making, robust evaluation, and impactful research initiatives. With their expertise and insights, this talk will undoubtedly shed light on the transformative potential of data-driven governance.

Whether you’re a researcher, a council member, or simply someone passionate about data-driven policymaking, this event is an excellent opportunity to broaden your understanding and gain valuable insights from this work.

Sign up now and get involved with the conversation.

Date: 08/05/24


Register for free.

April 24: Save the date for the next instalment of the DRAGoN Seminar Series!

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We’re excited to announce our upcoming session, “Data Governance and Religion”, led by the Juan Carlos. Join us on April 24th at 6:00 PM for what promises to be a thought-provoking discussion on the intersection of data governance and religious perspectives.

Seminar Details:

Date and Time: April 24, 2024, at 6:00 PM

Location: The seminar will be hosted on Microsoft Teams. Joining instructions will be provided upon registration.

Registration: As always, our seminars are free and open to all who are interested. Secure your spot by registering at this link.

EVENT: Better Data; Better Research; Better Policy in partnership with ADR UK

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Research Development Workshop: Better Data; Better Research; Better Policy

In person event.

Date: Tuesday 21 May 24

Registration: Register here


ADR UK is transforming the way researchers access the UK’s wealth of public sector data. By joining up the abundance of administrative data already being created by government and public bodies across the UK, and making it available to approved researchers in a safe and secure way, they are enabling vital research. These datasets are already supporting the production of world leading academic studies, while leading to better informed policy decisions and more effective public services in areas from improving education and healthcare to tackling crime.

ADR UK flagship datasets are of significant research value and will have wide appeal to researchers and policy makers and analysts. ADR UK have funded and made available a number of new large-scale dataset which are currently underutilised in research. The datasets cover the following themes: 

  • Children & Young People 
  • Climate & Sustainability 
  • Crime & Justice 
  • Health & Wellbeing 
  • Housing & Communities 
  • Inequality & Social Inclusion 
  • World of Work

Several of the ADR UK funded ‘World of Work’ datasets have been created in Bristol by UWE’s Wage and Employment Dynamics team – see www.wagedynamics.com. As such, the UWE research team will be at hand to talk about their experience and provide tailored guidance and support for anyone interested in using these, or any other ADR UK funded datasets in their research.

If you would like to find out more about the datasets; how to access them; what funding is available to support research using these datasets; and network with like-minded peers, then you should sign up to this workshop.

Workshop aims

The aims of the workshop are to bring academics and policy makers together to raise awareness of the ADR UK datasets; inform academic and government researchers about how they can get access these datasets; identify what funding schemes are available to support research using these datasets; and give delegates the chance to connect with others and jointly explore research ideas that can be addressed using the new ADR UK datasets.

Through a combination of presentations and facilitated discussions, the objective is to stimulate ideas for research, and encourage and support individuals and research collaborators to bid for funding to further their research agenda and improve the evidence base needed for better policy.

Who is behind the workshop?

The workshop is a collaboration between the University of the West of England, ADR UK and the Office for National Statistics, with support from research funders and academics who have previously been funded to produce pathfinder research using at least one of the ADR UK datasets.

Who should attend

We expect the workshop to be attended by researchers (in academia, government, or the third or private sectors) and ‘policy makers’ (including national and regional government analysts in policy areas). Specifically, this workshop should be of interest to

  • Researchers who have (or would like to develop) an interest in empirical microdata research, which uses unit level observations (e.g. individual, enterprise etc.).
  • Researchers looking to explore new research areas.
  • Policy makers with specific questions not currently (or obviously) addressed by existing research.
  • Policy makers wishing to explore the potential for research collaborations in their areas of research interest.

We strongly encourage participation by early-career researchers and PhD students.


The workshop will take the form of presentations and Q&As in the morning session, followed by more detailed case studies and interactive workshops in the afternoon. The workshops will be facilitated by thematic experts with experience of the datasets.


The workshops will be held as follows:

LocationUniversity of West of England, Frenchay Campus, Bristol Business School (X-Block)  
Date21st May 2024
Arrival10.00 – 10.30: Registration and Morning Refreshments
Morning Session10.30 – 10.40: Opening Remarks  
Professor Yvonne Beach: Pro-Vice Chancellor and Head of the College of Business and Law, UWE  
10.40 – 11.10: ADR UK Flagship Datasets
Emily Oliver and Elizabeth Pattinson: Research and Capacity Building, ADR UK   11.10 – 11.30: Accessing and working with microdata  
Alice McTiernan, Phil Yule and Liam Jones Office for National Statistics  
11.30 – 11.45: Research Funding for ADR UK Datasets
Alex Beer: Head of Grants Operations and Portfolio Development, Nuffield Foundation  
11.45 – 12.00: Panel Q&A  
Lunch12.00 – 12.40
Afternoon Session (1)Research Case Studies using ADR UK flagship datasets
12.40 – 13.00: The Value of Green Jobs –
Damian Whittard: Associate Professor, UWE  
13.00 – 13.20: Family Justice –
Dr Ludivine Garside: Senior Research Associate, University of Bristol  
13.20 – 13.40: Teacher Predicted vs. Achieved Grades for          University Admission –
Professor George Leckie: University of Bristol  
13.40 – 14.00: Low Pay and Labour Mobility – Professor Felix   Ritchie, UWE  
14.00 – 14.15: Panel Q&A  
Coffee break14:15 – 14:30
Afternoon Session (2)14:30 -15:30 Workshop Session:
Bringing academics and policy analysts together to explore ideas for research using the ADR UK flagship datasets  
 15:30 – 16:00 Closing remarks and Refreshments

Attendance fee and registration

Register here

There is no fee for attending. Registration is required to allow planning for catering, registering with security and in case of over-subscription. The event will be limited to a maximum of 50 participants. Delegates will receive confirmation of their place at least seven days in advance of the event. If oversubscribed, delegates who were unable to attend will be sent a summary report and invited to any future events.  

Contact details

For further information, please contact damian2.whittard@uwe.ac.uk

April 9 at 5pm: DRAGoN Webinar Series: Thinking of data as an economic good

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The Spring 2024 DRAGoN Webinar Series continues to ignite curiosity and spark discussions with our upcoming session, “Thinking of data as an economic good: what it can (not) teach us about data governance.” Join us on April 9 at an earlier than usual time of 5pm for an insightful exploration by Nadya Purtova from Utrecht University and UWE’s Damien Whittard.

Register now

Seminar Details:

  • Date and Time: April 9, 2024, at 5:00 PM
  • Speakers: Nadya Purtova (Utrecht University) and Damien Whittard

Seminar Focus: Discuss a unique perspective on data governance by viewing data through the lens of economics. Discover how considering data as an economic good can inform strategies for effective data management practices, and where it can also limit us.

Registration: Our webinars are free and open to any who are interested. To receive joining information, please register at this link.

DRAGoN Webinars: Protecting Confidentiality in Non-Statistical Activities.

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Excitement is in the air as we kick off the Spring 2024 DRAGoN Seminar Series! Join us this Wednesday, 13th March, for our inaugural session, “Protecting Confidentiality in Non-Statistical Activities.” with Felix Ritchie and Elizabeth Green

Key Highlights:

  • Date and Time: * Date change due to technical difficulties* Wednesday, 13 March 6-7pm GM
  • Venue: Microsoft teams online meeting

Agenda: Explore the crucial realm of data confidentiality with a focus on non-statistical activities. Gain practical insights and solutions from front line researchers in data governance.

Registration: Secure your spot here. Our Webinars are online, free and accessible to all.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to elevate your understanding of data protection. Join us for an enlightening session on 6th March at the Spring 2024 DRAGoN Seminar Series.

DRAGoN Webinar series continues. Sign up now!

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Don’t miss out on our up and coming webinars that dive deep into crucial topics like – Data protection during war, governance of confidential research data, and effecting change in healthcare settings.

Be sure to sign up now to reserve your spot! Learn from and engage with subject matter experts on issues that impact us all, expand your knowledge and gain new perspectives and sign up to join in the webinars today. This blog post gives details and sign up links for each webinar.

The webinar schedule is as follows, and you can find out more about each webinar below.

November 29 Governance of confidential research data in low- and middle- income countries

December 6 Part of the team: Effecting change and sharing power in healthcare settings cyber-attacks during armed conflict can be protected.

Governance of confidential research data in low- and middle- income countries

November 29

Time – 18:00- 19:00

Location – Online (teams) 


This talk is hosted by Pedro Ferrer Breda and Natalia Eugenia Volkow Fernandez.

Research and policy development on the governance of confidential research data is dominated by the work of academics and government agencies based in high-income countries (HICs). This leaves three quarters of the world’s population faced with a corpus of theory and good practiced guidelines which, although robust and well-established, makes little or no reference to the specific circumstances of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). It may be that the data governance models developed in LMICS may be easily transferable to other contexts (there is some evidence, for example, that human-centred training adapts well), but in general there is little or no examination of this issue. There is however a large demand; a recent announcement of a training course in data governance for LMICS was 10x over-subscribed within the first two weeks of launch. 

Following from this gap, DRAGoN has started a project on the governance of confidential data for research use in LMICs. DRAGoN hosted a symposium on data governance in LMICs aimed at building a network for discussion of solutions of data governance challenges in LMICs. The output of this symposium was presented at a UNECE conference in late September.  

Additionally, this project includes a PhD thesis by Pedro Ferrer Breda, which consists of a case study of Mexico’s INEGI (national institute of statistics and geography) and INSP (national institute of public healthcare) to understand data access decisions in Mexico, supported by Natalia Eugenia Volkow Fernandez, INEGI’s director of microdata access.  

This talk will describe this project’s current progress and explain future plans for the development of support networks for good governance of data for research use in LMICs.

Part of the team: Effecting change and sharing power in healthcare settings

December 6

Time – 18:00- 19:00

Location – Online (teams) 


In this talk, Dr Jessie Stanier and Dr Purtell discuss a recent paper from a project which explored perspectives from patients and researchers to rethink how patient stories were shared with executives at an NHS hospital trust. With a goal to develop a new narrative framework to help patients position themselves as part of the healthcare team, emphasizing shared roles and responsibilities between patients and practitioners.

Their talk will cover the outcomes of this collaborative project, including key support structures and obstacles. They will reflect on the significance of collective voice, accessibility, administrative support, and senior staff buy-in when working to truly integrate patient perspectives in healthcare systems, especially considering austerity measures and the COVID-19 pandemic and look at how their findings can influence relationships beyond those in the NHS.

DRAGoN Research Group Webinar Series: A Journey into Data, Ethics, and Innovation.

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We are thrilled to announce the highly-anticipated return of the DRAGoN Research Group Webinar Series. After a brief hiatus, we are back with an incredible line-up of webinars that promise to delve deep into the fascinating world of data, research, and technology. These webinars are entirely free and open to all.

Our first webinar on October 4th is set to kick things off in style. DRAGoN’s very own Dr Francesco Tava has invited a distinguished guest, Dr Pete Barnsley, Head of Special Projects at The Francis Crick Institute. Together, they will explore the topic of Data Consent, exploring the ethics and philosophy of how we share our data now and how we should be looking to change this in the future.

This and all of our webinars are free. To attend please register here.

More details

“Consent by Design” Dr Pete Barnsley Head of Special Projects, Francis Crick Institute, London

How can I, a citizen, help research?  Will my lack of agency destroy (societal) trust in data research?  What types of problem will future data research be restricted  to as a result?  What data access frameworks are we building to help my agency?

This talk argues for ‘consent by design’ and ‘rights by design’ in IT systems through a framework of atomic consents.  It highlights the value of improved openness for users and benefits from standardization that come from such an approach – the human at the heart of information systems: the creation of a set of ‘atomic consents’ and ‘atomic rights’, the latter derived from General Data Protection Rights, to help architect IT systems that maintain trust and engagement in IT systems (e.g. TREs / SDEs) that support human health, societal and people data use.  By combining these atomic consents with the atomic rights (as per data protection laws), a way of expressing requirements and architecture for, and within, IT systems is simplified and standardised.  This should save money, ensure extensibility and allow flexibility and transparency as social practice and legal frameworks evolve.

This talk is an innocent start to a (critical) discussion.

Save the Dates:

October 4th, 2023 “Consent by Design”

Dr Francesco Tava & Dr Pete Barnsley, Head of Special Projects at The Francis Crick Institute.

*POSTPONED* Now November 29, 2023Governance of confidential research data in low- and middle- income countries – introduction of the project and current progress. 

Speakers:  Pedro Ferrer Breda and Natalia Eugenia Volkow Fernandez

November 1st, 2023 – TBC

November 15th, 2023 Socio-technical dimensions of data protection in times of war: the case of Ukraine.

Speakers: Dr Aida Abzhaparova (Senior Lecturer in Cyber Security and Global Politics, UWE Bristol) and Professor Olena Sdvizkova (Head of Department Applied Mathematics, Dnipro University of Technology, Ukraine).

Stay tuned for more details on the upcoming webinars. We’ll be revealing the exciting topics and esteemed guest speakers for each event shortly. Make sure to mark your calendars and keep an eye on our website for registration links, so you don’t miss out on these engaging discussions.

Register for the first Webinar in the series now

Bridging the Gap: Governance of Confidential Research Data in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

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DRAGoN Host a weeklong international workshop, reviewing the current gap between Data Governance in high income countries (HICs)  and low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This workshop will run with two parallel cohorts to accommodate both Eastern and western hemispheres.

What Gap?

iguana about to jump on concrete wall

When it comes to research and policy development on the governance of confidential research data, high-income countries (HICs) have taken centre stage. However, this has left a significant knowledge gap for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where three-quarters of the global population resides. The existing guidelines and practices, although robust, fail to address the unique circumstances and challenges faced by LMICs. To address this disparity, DRAGoN is organizing a workshop working directly with people in these countries addressing and exploring these issues. This article gives an overview into what the workshop aims to achieve and why it matters to anyone involved in data research.

The workshop seeks to delve into the current state of research data governance in LMICs and uncover the challenges these countries face. Unlike their HIC counterparts, LMICs operate within distinct institutional, legal, historical, and cultural contexts, necessitating tailored data governance models.

The lack of evidence regarding the effectiveness of transferring HIC data governance models to LMICs further emphasizes the need for comprehensive understanding. Additionally, certain data governance issues specific to LMICs have yet to be addressed

The lack of evidence regarding the effectiveness of transferring HIC data governance models to LMICs further emphasizes the need for comprehensive understanding. Additionally, certain data governance issues specific to LMICs have yet to be addressed. By identifying the gaps in knowledge and evidence, the workshop aims to pave the way for data governance practices that are more inclusive and effective.

Exploring Good Practices & Opportunities for Supporting Good Data Governance:

brown tree

Despite the existing disparities, the workshop will also explore examples of good practice that could be applied more widely in LMICs. These success stories will provide inspiration and practical insights for data researchers, regulators, academics, governments, and NGOs involved in making confidential data available for research use. By sharing these experiences, the workshop aims to encourage the adoption of effective data governance practices across LMICs.

One of the main goals of the workshop is to identify opportunities for supporting good data governance in LMICs. By bringing together stakeholders from different regions, the event aims to foster collaboration and the exchange of ideas. Over the course of a week small-group discussions will take place virtually, accommodating participants from both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. These discussions will help generate valuable insights and recommendations for addressing the challenges and improving data governance practices.

To gather additional evidence and insights, a short survey will be distributed to participants and others involved in data research. The survey aims to capture current practices and perceptions regarding research data governance in LMICs. The information collected can then contribute to a comprehensive summary report, outlining the current landscape, trends, disparities, and highlighting any potential ways forward. This report will serve as a snapshot of the current landscape and a  foundation for future exploration by academics and policymakers, stimulating further research and policy development in this vital area.

Bottom line; Why is this workshop so important?

person molding vase

The governance of confidential research data is a critical aspect of ensuring ethical and effective data research practices worldwide. By acknowledging the unique circumstances of LMICs and addressing the challenges they face, we can foster more inclusive and sustainable data governance models. The workshop organized by DRAGoN is an important step toward bridging the gap between HIC-dominated research and the specific needs of LMICs. It provides an opportunity for stakeholders to come together, exchange knowledge, and collectively work towards advancing data governance practices. By participating in this workshop, you can contribute to shaping the future of research data governance in LMICs and make a meaningful impact in the field of data research.

To register for the workshop or for further information, please visit the event page for more information or contact the workshop planning group at dragon@uwe.ac.uk. We look forward to your participation!

Past DRAGoN Webinars: The importance of solidarity in Data sharing.

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DRAGoN runs a very popular webinar series that brings academics together with practitioners and members of the public facilitating conversation to flow from theory to practice. The next run of these webinars are due to start at the end of February 2023.

In the first of three blogs looking back on the Data Ethics and Governance webinar series so far Francesco Tava reflects on past seminars and the impact they have had on his work . In this post Francesco focuses on the webinar closest to one of his main research areas – data ethics.

Francesco starts by explaining “The idea of this series is to overcome the typical academic boundaries by involving professionals working in various sectors of data governance in a discussion around ethical concepts and problems arising from the use, access and sharing of data.” From the webinars we have held so far, one that aligns to my current research interests was the discussion on solidarity-based data governance.” with Barbara Prainsack (University of Vienna)

Francesco goes on to say that often the first and only consideration underpinning data governance is how to defend privacy. However, there are other principles which are equally important when it comes to data access and sharing that tend to fall by the wayside. One of which being solidarity. How can we rebalance this approach to include principles such as solidarity when assessing the practicalities and risks involved in data management?

‘’Data, not just
something completely
 impersonal, objective material…
Somehow describes
 who we are”

The talk that Barbara Prainsack held and the discussion that followed was very valuable. Not only did this discussion investigate a series of issues stemming from data management, but it also envisaged how a solidarity-based approach can provide possible solutions to these problems.

You can listen to the whole conversation for a deeper dive into Francesco’s reflection of this webinar here

You can listen to past DRAGoN talks here.

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