How to apply top section

DataLoch is currently accepting applications from academics and health and social care professionals within the South-East Scotland region. Any person wishing to access any of the datasets held within DataLoch will need to meet a number of key governance criteria to ensure their purpose and interest is both legitimate and appropriate.

We work with applicants to understand the purpose and technical requirements of the project. Researchers must undertake training on how to work safely with data. DataLoch recommends either the ONS Safe Researcher Training course or the Research, GDPR and Confidentiality modules and quiz from the Medical Research Council.

Each project goes through careful scrutiny by NHS employees trained in data privacy, to ensure the request is appropriate, proportionate and in the public interest. Depending on the specific purpose and data required to support the project, ethical approval may also be required. We help guide applicants through any additional exceptional approvals.

Approved researchers can then access and analyse the data extracts within the Scotland National Safe Haven. This infrastructure is one of several Safe Havens across Scotland dedicated to protecting the confidentiality of data and which are required to meet the best practice national standards for access and information security.

Request Registration to Access the Metadata Catalogue

Doctor holding a stethoscope against a soft toy bear whilst a child looks on and laughs.

How to apply middle section

It is important that the application form is completed as fully as possible. Applicants can save and return to the form before submitting. 

Our purpose is supporting improvements in public health and we are not a profit-making enterprise. However, we will apply a charge to cover our costs to support the project. Our services are costed based on the complexity of the application and any consultancy or analytical requirement. DataLoch will also consider the type of organisation requesting access, with a pricing structure applied to research and academic institutions, as well as the private sector, but no charge for projects related to service improvements for the NHS or public sector. 

DataLoch’s consultancy and analytical service includes: 

  • Cross-linking structured data  
  • Data analysis 
  • Collaborations with the NHS BioResource service
  • Governance advice
  • Clinical Team consultancy 
GRAPHIC - How to apply to access data

How to apply final section

Using the trusted research and innovation environments

Once approved, researchers will access data for their project through the secure Scottish National Safe Haven facility managed by the eDRIS team within Public Health Scotland, hosted by the EPCC at the University of Edinburgh. Researchers can access database querying and analytical tools within the environment such as RStudio. The secure platform puts virtual walls around data so that researchers can only access data for which they have been approved.

Charter for Safe Havens in Scotland: Handling Unconsented Data from National Health Service Patient Records to Support Research and Statistics

DataLoch is working to expand the capability within this safe environment, to allow advanced analytical tooling and supporting software management solutions that are increasingly required to develop software to support new medical devices.  

DataLoch application process represented in an infographic