BRHS as a data resource
The research team are committed to maximizing the use of the BRHS data to advance scientific knowledge. The data we have collected since 1978 is now established as an open-access resource to share and facilitate other research in the wider community, either in collaboration with the BRHS research team or independently. The specific benefits from the use of the BRHS data will be to generate further high-quality research evidence about prevention of chronic diseases and to improve the health of older populations. The BRHS research team welcomes proposals for collaborative projects and data sharing. This page includes information for researchers interested in using the data for independent or collaborative research.
BRHS Independent Data Access Committee (IDAC)
All data access applications will be reviewed by the BRHS Independent Data Access Committee (IDAC) which consists of three external senior academics. The Committee includes (1) Professor Ivan Perry (Professor of Public Health Epidemiology at University College Cork) who is the chair of the committee, (2) Professor Martin Rutter (Professor of Cardiometabolic Medicine at the University of Manchester) and (3) Professor Rebecca Hardy (Professor of Epidemiology and Statistics at Loughborough University).
The Committee makes its own independent decision on the data access applications, the outcome is reported back to the applicant via the BRHS research management team. Decisions can be expected to be made within 4-6 weeks of receiving the full application.
Please note that we charge a modest fee to cover the administrative costs associated with the management and generation of the bespoke datasets.
Management of Data Access
A managed data access model is being used in response to data requests. The policy on managed data access is based on the need to protect participants and act within the scope of their signed consent, ensure compliance with UK legal and regulatory requirements, ensure high quality research and that data security is maintained.
Data Access Application process
Researchers considering applying for access to the BRHS data are advised to visit BRHS Current Research which lists the research projects the BRHS research team are currently working on as well as research projects approved through data access/sharing.
Criteria for data access
- The applicant must be a bona fide researcher and employee of a recognised academic institution or health service organisation with experience in medical research.
- Application must have clearly defined objectives and sound methodology.
- Applications must be requesting appropriate and available selection of data to answer the proposed research objectives.
- In the case of biological sample requests, consideration will be made whether the amount of sample required is scientifically justified.
- Application must have defined timelines and output.
There are 3 stages to the application process which are outlined below:
1. Applicant: Applicants should be employees of a recognised academic institution or health service organisation with experience in medical research.
2. Application for data access: The applicant needs to download and complete and send the BRHS data access application form to the BRHS Research Management team. Successfully completed application forms will be sent on to the Independent Data Access Committee to review. The BRHS Research Management Team will also submit comments and recommendation to the Independent Data Access committee (IDAC) to take into consideration.
IDAC will consider the application and recommendation on the grounds specified criteria for data access which includes (i) whether the proposed research use meets the required criteria for access (including being a bona fide researcher and meet the requirements of ethical approvals of BRHS data); (ii) clearly defined objectives and sound methodology (iii) appropriate and available selection of data (iv) in the case of biological sample requests, whether the amount of sample required is scientifically justified (v) defined timelines and outputs.
For general data sharing enquiries, please contact Lucy Lennon email@example.com
3. Agreements for approved applications: When an application has been approved by IDAC signed agreements (ethical approval where applicable) will need to be executed and any access charges paid before release of data and/or samples are sent to the approved researcher. Currently data is shared through bespoke datasets, but we are working towards being able to share data through data sharing platforms.
Please note that we charge a modest fee (£600) to cover the administrative costs associated with the management and generation of the bespoke datasets. This fee may increase depending on the complexity of the bespoke dataset. For bio-resource samples it will vary by request.
Bio Resource- Restricted access to samples (bio-resources)
The BRHS has small volumes of plasma and serum which were collected at 20, 30 and 40 year examinations and are held in secure alarmed freezer facilities. The principles of access will be the same as for BRHS data, except that because the samples are finite, access to them needs to be carefully controlled and coordinated to ensure the most effective scientific use of the resource. Access to blood samples will require scientific justification, which will be reviewed by the Independent Scientific Advisory Committee (IDAC) and the laboratory custodians since these are limited resources. Priority will be given to collaborations that involve an extensive range of quality-controlled assays of all (or sufficiently large numbers of) samples using high-throughput and cost-effective assay methods. Interested collaborators will be asked to e-mail the BRHS Directors to discuss such proposals in advance.
Other Study enquiries
If you are interested in using the data for independent research, collaborating with us or have a question about the BRHS please contact the study team.