Research Support

The role of the NISRA Research Support Unit (RSU) is to allow researchers safe access to project specific de-identified data in a secure room in order to carry out secondary data analysis. 

NISRA Research Support Unit

The role of the NISRA Research Support Unit (RSU) is to allow researchers safe access to project specific de-identified data in a secure room in order to carry out secondary data analysis.  Access to the data is governed by protocols and procedures to ensure data confidentiality.  Researchers are supported by RSU through the application, accreditation, analysis and output processes.

The RSU provides support to researchers accessing the Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study (NILS) and data through the Administrative Data Research Centre NI (ADRC-NI).  

The Northern Ireland Longitudinal Study (NILS)

The NILS has been formally available to researchers since the end of 2006. It was developed by NISRA and is maintained and managed as a resource for research.

The NILS is proportionally the largest longitudinal study in the UK covering an impressive 28% of the Northern Ireland population and accounting for approximately 50% of Northern Ireland households. The NILS ‘core’ data are drawn from the Health Card Registration data and then linked to data from Census returns (1981, 1991, 2001 & 2011), Vital Events (births, deaths and marriages), Migration and Property data. The result is over 30 years of longitudinal data which is regularly being updated. In addition to this rich resource there is the potential to link further Health and Social Care data via Distinct Linkage Projects as well as the option of using the Northern Ireland Mortality Study (NIMS) for more detailed investigation into NI mortality patterns. 

The NILS and NIMS microdata are invaluable resources for a variety of research studies, focussing on a range of topics such as mental health, migration, commuting and working patterns. To find out more about previously undertaken research projects and the application process and requirements, please consult the NILS-RSU website.

The Administrative Data Research Centre for Northern Ireland (ADRC-NI)

The ADRC-NI is one of five centres that make up the UK wide Administrative Data Research Network (ADRN). The ADRC-NI works together with the centres in Scotland, England, Wales and the Administrative Data Service, to help researchers get access to de-identified, linked administrative data.

The Network makes it possible for trained researchers to use administrative data for social and economic research, while making sure the data remains safe and everyone’s privacy is protected.

As well as giving accredited researchers access to administrative data, the ADRC-NI carries out its own original research.

To find out more about our approved research projects, the projects we are currently developing, and the data potentially available through the ADRC-NI please visit the ADRC-NI Section of the ADRN website.

Contact Details:

Research Support Unit
Colby House
Stranmillis Court
BELFAST
BT9 5RR

Telephone: +44(0) 28 90 348189

Email: rsu.nisra@finance-ni.gov.uk