Bayes Centre

[02/10/23] Bayes Centre Community Profile: SCADR

Bayes Centre community member the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research (SCADR) analyses public data from across the public sector to create data driven insights, which can inform policy and benefit society. The teams also investigate possible linkage methodologies and use innovative skills to further advance administrative data research.


SCADR logo

Established by Professor Chris Dibben, the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research (SCADR) brings together academics from across 5 institutions across Scotland, to analyse administrative data to help examine issues from across society in Scotland and the UK. Their researchers primarily focus on their  seven research programmes, which range from children’s lives and outcomes, crime and justice and work and welfare to health and social care.  In addition, SCADR provides training around the safety and security of data and to develop administrative data research skills.

The Journey


In 2013, SCADR was formed as part of Administrative Data Research Centre (ADRC) Scotland, to make available

ADR Scotland logo

de-identified administrative data to the research community in Scotland.

In 2018, ADRC Scotland successfully received a further phase of funding and was renamed ADR Scotland. The latter is a partnership between SCADR and the Scottish Government’s Data for Research Unit, which is part of ADR UK and funded by Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). This partnership works with four delivery bodies: EPCC, National Records of Scotland (NRS), Public Health Scotland (PHS) and Research Data Scotland (RDS).


We are currently funded until 2026, which will ensure SCADR can continue to work with our partner and delivery bodies to ensure that researchers in Scotland have quick and secure access to a wider range of administrative datasets to enable policy-relevant research which can benefit society.

Renata S Samulnik, SCADR Programme Manager


SCADR’s achievements and challenges

SCADR has achieved success in four distinctive areas:

  1. As a partner of ADR Scotland, they have successfully worked alongside ADR UK to transform the way researchers access the UK’s wealth of public sector data. By highlighting to government and public bodies across the UK the value of public data that is already being created and making it available to approved researchers in a safe and secure way, enables vital research that has the potential to lead to better informed policy decisions and more effective public services, in areas from improving education and healthcare to tackling crime, to be completed.
  2. In addition to having access to this public data, they  also have shown the value in data linkage. This is linking data held from different parts of government, and joining them up with data from the other datasets, such as the public census. SCADR recently developed a new linkage methodology CURL which enables researchers to precisely understand the context and environment in which people live, such as those living in a shared residential building, such as a care home.
  3. Professor Chris Dibben and Darren Lightfoot who are both part of SCADR were responsible for developing the Safepod. They allow data centres with a flexible and low-cost solution to securely share and widen access to their data for public benefit research. Since the first installation, there is now a Safepod Network throughout the UK with over 20 Safepods that can be booked out by researchers.
  4. Finally, when discussing SCADR’s achievements we cannot forget to mention their  researchers. Throughout the year, SCADR  has  produced dozens of outputs as well as their  most recent Impact Case study on Improving the utility of data on care-experienced children.  SCADR  continues to engage with the public and their  stakeholders through their  advisory groups, public panel, website, podcast, twitter and Linkedin.

However, like all organisations, SCADR has its challenges.  With data being a rich resource, SCADR  has  the continuing challenge of managing a careful balancing between risk and benefits. As part of the Scottish Data for Research Alliance they contribute to discussions to help support system-wide continuous improvement and developments in this area.

Basing SCADR in the Bayes Centre

Bayes Centre

Originally based at the Bioquarter, SCADR relocated to the Bayes Centre in 2021. This new central location met their  needs, as it was easily reached by the academics based in Edinburgh, as well as its close proximity to Waverley, for those collaborations based across Scotland.  Finally, as part of the ADR Scotland partnership, they were close to their  partner The Scottish Government and two of their  delivery bodies are also based within the Bayes building - Research Data Scotland (RDS) and EPCC.

SCADR has enjoyed being part of the Bayes Centre community as it has provided them with access to world class facilities and support from the Bayes Centre team.


Whilst its central location is what attracted us to the Bayes Centre, we are fortunate that Bayes hosts both a number of events and diverse research and business entities, many with an interest in data science. Both these networking opportunities, give our staff a chance to enjoy supporting and connecting with each other's innovation and developing potential future collaboration.

Professor Chris Dibben, Director


Find SCADR  on the 2nd Floor, Room 2.07 at the Bayes Centre. Please feel free to pop along and ask them  questions or visit their  website for more information.