Steps 1-2: Application


Step 1: Formulate your research proposal

The NILS-RSU is happy to provide feedback by email, telephone or to facilitate a meeting to discuss the feasibility of any potential project.

Details of all available NILS/NIMS variables are available from the Data Dictionary, and we also have an overview of the 2001 Census and 2011 Census variables to inspire potential projects (2001 Census form and 2011 Census form). Researchers must clearly outline any requirements they may have in relation to attaching external data to their NILS data extract.

There is also the potential to link to other administrative datasets for specially defined one-off studies. This is detailed in NILS005 - Process for Distinct Linkage Projects (DLPs). Please contact the NILS-RSU for further information and to arrange an initial meeting to discuss overall feasibility, timescales and, in particular, coverage of linkage fields. Researchers must agree to adhere to the DoH Code of Practice on Protecting the Confidentiality of Service User Information. In the case of DLP's requesting data from the Business Services Organisation (BSO) please refer to the BSO-HSC R&D Division Charging Matrix to see if any charges for the time taken to produce the data will apply.

All proposals must meet the following criteria:

(1) have a longitudinal aspect;

(2) illustrate how using NILS/NIMS data will uniquely contribute to the study;

(3) provide clear evidence of the value of their proposed study to Health and Social Care-related research and specific policies (please note that this is based on the World Health Organization’s ‘social determinants of health’  model which broadly defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being); and

(4) support the development/delivery of public policy.


Step 2: Complete an application form

Researchers must complete a NILS NIMS Application Form to include details about the researchers involved, project description, research aims, sample population, variables to be included and dissemination/publicity strategies. Detailed information on completing a NILS application is available in NILS Working Paper 2.1.

To make a change to a project after the application has been approved (such as the addition of variables/ researchers or extension to the end date) researchers must submit a Project Modification Form.  Please refer to the Guidance on Project Modifications for further information on the types of modifications permitted and the detail required in submitting a project modification request.


We are very pleased to announce the new version of our data dictionary interface featuring: full variable information, advanced search options and the ability to save your own variable lists between sessions. We would greatly appreciate your thoughts on the new system so please find out more...


Latest News