Information Services

Data Futures project has started

Data Futures is a transformational project run by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) to modernise and improve the way in which data is collected and delivered to a range of users including statutory customers.

This project will scope the development required and estimate the resources needed to deliver the mandatory return in early 2020 for a full submission to the HESA Collection System. 

The aims are to provide information for national and local decision making which is more up to date than can be achieved through the current annual returns and to reduce the burden on institutions of information provision by reducing the number of separate external reports required  and eventually sourcing them from a single return.  Data Futures will replace the current annual HESA Student Return with three in-year returns starting from 2020/21.

We acknowledge that Data Futures is not solely a software project. We will need to work with partners across the University.  Data Futures will require culture changes in addition to University processes being revised to enable the project to be delivered.  Key to the successful implementation of Data Futures will be developing our data capability in terms of quality and timeliness if we are to continue to make robust, on-time statutory returns without manual intervention and verification.

The benefits are:

  • The plan will allow development and implementation to be planned to allow the University to make best use of the opportunities provided as part of the Beta Pilot and to meet the statutory deadlines for the introduction of the new Data Futures return.
  • The Data Futures returns are statutory and  the Scottish Funding Council intend to use the return to confirm or amend teaching funding.  The Data Futures data is also used for League Tables.
  • To secure Scottish Funding Council future teaching funding (£65 million+) which will be confirmed or amended by the student return.
  • Enhanced reputation. If not completed, the university cannot appear in the domestic league table, cannot run NSS survey, and cannot provide data to return its graduate outcomes survey.
  • Focusing on improved source data quality will have additional benefits for improved internal reporting by having a more reliable MI.

More details about the project are available at: