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Queen’s part of £12 million investment to support policy relevant research in Northern Ireland

An initiative that has transformed how de-identified administrative data can be safely used to develop evidence on issues of crucial public importance in Northern Ireland is set to continue following an investment of almost £12 million.

Lanyon building

Administrative Data Northern Ireland (ADR NI) has been awarded £11.7 million as part of the £90 million UK wide Administrative Data Research UK (ADR UK) investment by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). 

ADR NI is a partnership between Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University, and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA), which is an accredited processor under the Digital Economy Act (DEA). Together they support the acquisition, linking and analysis of administrative data sets, developing cutting-edge research to improve knowledge, policymaking and public service delivery.  

The ESRC investment in ADRC NI supports fifteen researchers at Queen’s University across the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science, the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics, the School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work, and Queen's Management School.  

The researchers will investigate a range of issues of importance to society including the mental health and wellbeing of care-experienced young people; the effect of air pollution on health and wellbeing; homelessness; inequality and poverty; welfare interventions; and political participation. 

ADR NI Co Director and Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Centre for Public Health, Professor Dermot O’Reilly at Queen’s, said: “We are delighted to build on our work for the next four years. To date, our programme of work has produced significant outputs which have helped to shape key areas of policy and service provision in Northern Ireland. We will continue to work closely with our stakeholders to identify and amplify crucial areas of research to support the people of Northern Ireland, such as housing and homelessness, mental health, air pollution, and food security.” 

ADR NI aligns its work with Northern Ireland Government strategic priorities as well as addressing other vital issues identified by stakeholders within communities and service provision. As a result, ADR NI has produced significant research grounded in robust public engagement to inform community, policy and service priorities in areas including mental health, early years, education, environmental health, and the Covid-19 pandemic.  

The ADR NI team has led the way on opening up datasets on new topics ranging from employment and earnings to farming and air pollution to enable research for policymaking for public benefit. The continued investment in Northern Ireland will ensure progress made to date is continued so that the value of administrative data to provide insight on the key issues facing Northern Ireland is fully realised.