The UK Data Service was established in 2012 by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to provide unified access, training and support to meet the current and future digital data needs of researchers, students, teachers, data users and data owners from all sectors

With over 23,000 registered users worldwide, the Service forms a crucial part of the UK's research infrastructure. It enables researchers and policy-makers to extract knowledge and insights from its trusted repository of over 7,000 datasets to support evidence-based decisions that benefit society.

The use of real data in coursework gives social scientists the data analysis skills necessary to make real contributions to future research and society and adds interest and relevance to teaching resources.

Other resources and wider support include:

  • survey questionnaires
  • guides on how to use specific datasets, subject topics or themes, methods and software including manipulating or reusing data
  • research and teaching case studies demonstrating how the data were used
  • webinar and face-to-face training services throughout the year

This national organisation replaced ESRC earlier investments of the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS), the Secure Data Service (SDS), the Survey Question Bank and elements of the ESRC Census Programme.

Archive contribution

With the UK Data Archive at the University of Essex as its lead partner, the Service works closely with its other expert partners from the Cathie Marsh Institute (University of Manchester), Jisc, University College London, University of Edinburgh and the University of Southampton to deliver the UK Data Service.

Principal investigator:  Matthew Woollard
Funder: ESRC
Dates: October 2017 - March 2021
Contact:  UK Data Service help desk
Links:  UK Data Service