The UK has a world-leading data infrastructure for social and economic research that provides a huge opportunity to address some of the most pressing challenges facing society today and into the future. The Secondary Data Analysis Initiative aims to deliver high-quality high-impact research through the deeper exploitation of major data resources created by the ESRC and other agencies.

Since December 2015, ESRC funding for this initiative has been awarded through an open competition. This process allows researchers greater flexibility in the timing and focus of their proposals. It also enables 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.

Previous projects

Before the open call was established, the initiative previously commissioned three rounds of proposals which enabled researchers from any social science subject area to undertake smaller, focused, impact-generating projects using any pre-existing dataset.

Phase 2 of the initiative also included a focus on co-production of knowledge and required partnerships with non-academic organisations.

Phase 3 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.