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We support research into financial lives by unlocking the power of financial data

Research and data go hand-in-hand​.

Analysis of data is critically important for any research, to form robust conclusions and make recommendations based on the research outcomes.​

The traditional approach to research uses a mix of historical datasets, surveys and focus groups. This normally results in small sample sizes and a rearward view of the past.​

Working with real, granular-level data that is regularly refreshed challenges this approach and unlocks the power of data to take research to a new level.

Ground-breaking partnerships to safely share data​

We have partnered with leading financial services organisations to safely share data that until now has not been available for public purpose or for common good.

Supporting the research ecosystem​

Having access to real data helps both researchers and those who fund research, such as Foundations and Research Councils.​

Researchers can unlock answers to previously unsolved challenges. Funders have greater confidence in the quality of the research outcomes that can challenge policy and help shape future regulation.

A Pioneering Partnership for Positive Change with the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF)

We’re proud to partner with JRF to create ground-breaking access to near-real-time private sector financial research-ready data.

JRF has a proud history, stretching back over 100 years when Joseph Rowntree had a vision to provide housing in communities and tackle the root causes of the major social problems afflicting the UK. Fast forward to today, JRF’s mission remains the same – working to support and speed up the transition to a more equitable and just future, free from poverty, where people and planet can flourish.

JRF has an enviable track record of building reports from research and analysis, which have become an essential part of social policymaking in the UK – from the Minimum Income Standard (MIS), which underpins the Real Living Wage, to their essential guides to the scale and nature of poverty and destitution in the UK.

Building on these foundations, we’re partnering with JRF’s Insight Infrastructure team to unlock the potential of banking data for understanding economic security, income volatility, inequality and more.

Income Volatility Dashboard

Income volatility is a key measure of economic security – which can be a major poverty indicator.

Getting a deeper understanding of the drivers of income volatility is essential to understand how people earn, save and spend, that can unearth insights to inform policy and support key decisions and interventions to tackle poverty in the UK.

Using near-real-time deidentified NatWest current account data for 1.2m customers, we have developed an interactive dashboard containing key metrics, highlighting different aspects of income volatility that build a picture of an individual’s income and expenditure, that can be analysed over a 5-year period.

Accessing research-ready data

Access to the underlying data that powers the Income Volatility Dashboard is available to inspire impactful and pioneering research into society’s significant challenges. This aligns with JRF’s mission and resonates with the core values of Smart Data Foundry.

In line with their commitment to advancing impactful research, JRF is now actively seeking proposals (Contact JRF here)from researchers interested in gaining access to the data for their innovative research projects that align with their goals on economic security and poverty.

Head to myFoundry to explore a sample of the data and gain insights on the application process, as well as guidelines on effectively using the data for your research project.

Keeping data safe and secure

Smart Data Foundry’s vision is for private sector data to become an essential part of the UK’s research data infrastructure.

To deliver against this mission, we have pioneered new ways to open access to private sector financial data for good.

Operating as an independent, not-for-profit organisation, we forge trusted relationships with Financial Institutions to make data sharing and collaboration happen when there’s normally a host of reasons that get in the way.

  • De-identified, granular data, updated monthly, from trusted data partners​
  • Within a professional infrastructure including the Trusted Research Environment at the University of Edinburgh’s world-class Supercomputing and data facility – EPCC, an Information Governance team, a Data Science team and a close working relationship with the ICO​
  • Bringing together the best of academia – research, rigour, independence – through a special relationship with the University of Edinburgh​
  • Leveraging data partners and government to produce pragmatic insights with real-world impact

Head to myFoundry to learn more about how we keep data safe and secure within our Trusted Research Environment.

Smart Data Foundry Trusted Research Environment

We work with sensitive and granular-level financial data and make it safe by deidentifying the data for use by researchers. ​

This is the most sensitive type of data we work with, and as such, is stored in our Trusted Research Environment. ​

Smart Data Foundry’s Trusted Research Environment is a managed research environment providing safe and secure data storage and access for Smart Data Foundry and research partners.

  • End-to-end managed service covering information governance, infrastructure management and technical support from data provision to published output​
  • Defined user onboarding and access control ​
  • Repeatable Data Sharing Agreement (DSA) and Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA) management​
  • Powerful data environment tools for researchers​
  • Single point of assurance for Data Providers​
  • Support from Smart Data Foundry research data science community