Administrative Data Research Centre – Northern Ireland (ADRC-NI)

ADRC_NIreland_MasterLogo_RGBAbout the project   

The ADRC-NI is a partnership between the University of Ulster and Queen’s University Belfast, with the support of the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Authority (NISRA). Within the University of Ulster, it is housed at the Bamford Centre for Mental Health & Wellbeing and the Institute for Nursing and Health Research.


It is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Northern Ireland Health and Social Care Research and Development Office.

The ADRC-NI is part of the Administrative Data Research Network (, a partnership between universities, government departments and agencies, national statistics authorities, funders and the wider research community.  There are four ADRCs within the Network:

  • The Network makes it possible to access de-identified administrative data held by government agencies and public bodies for research purposes.England: led by the University of Southampton
  • Northern Ireland: led by Queen’s University Belfast
  • Scotland: led by the University of Edinburgh
  • Wales: led by Swansea University

This is information collected by national and local government and other public sector organisations, usually when they are delivering a service.  It’s collected for administrative or operational reasons, but has the potential to be very valuable for social and economic research.

It contains a wealth of information about our society. Social researchers can use it to analyse the impact of government policies, or find new explanations for what happens in our everyday lives.

The ADRC-NI facilitates access for researchers to secure, de-identified data, making sure the data is safe to use.

Project aims and objectives

The ADRC-NI will enable bona fide researchers to access both linked and unlinked de-identified government administrative data, in order to undertake new approved research into economic and social issues.

Through collaborative working between the two universities and NISRA, the project will ensure that the ADRC-NI and the ADRN quickly become world class facilities for research access to de-identified administrative data by accredited researchers.

This new research will improve knowledge and understanding of the action required to tackle a wide range of complex social, economic, environmental and health issues, and may provide new approaches to the development, implementation and evaluation of policy across government.

The formation of the ADRC-NI should bring together a closer working relationship between the generators and custodians of administrative data in governmental and other agencies, the potential users of these data, and the policymakers who will benefit from further analysis of these data.

The ADRC-NI will also contribute to wider public discussions around the use of data for research purposes for the public good.

Staff and collaborators

The Bamford Centre for Mental Health & Wellbeing:

  • Professor Brendan Bunting: ADRC-NI Deputy Director (University of Ulster, Bamford Centre)
  • Professor Gerry Leavey: Co-investigator (University of Ulster, Bamford Centre)
  • Professor Siobhan O’Neill: Co-Investigator, Bamford Centre)
  • Martina Casey: Research Support Officer (Bamford Centre, University of Ulster)
  • Ronald McDowell: Research Support Officer (Bamford Centre, University of Ulster)

University of Ulster:

  • Professor Helen Dolk: Co-investigator (University of Ulster, Institute for Nursing and Health Research, University of Ulster)
  • Professor Gillian Robinson: Co-Investigator (INCORE, University of Ulster)
  • Dr Maria Loane: Co-investigator (Institute for Nursing and Health Research, University of Ulster)
  • Professor Gerard Parr: Co-Investigator (School of Computing and Information Engineering, University of Ulster
  • Elizabeth Nelson Gorman: ADRC-NI Public Engagement and Communications Officer (Institute for Nursing and Health Research, University of Ulster)

Queen’s University Belfast

  • Dr Dermot O’Reilly: ADRC-NI Director (Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science, QUB)
  • Dr Ian Shuttleworth: Co-investigator (Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology, QUB)
  • Professor Frank Kee: Co-investigator (Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science QUB)
  • Professor Weiru Liu: Co-Investigator (Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, QUB)
  • Dr Jun Hong: Co-investigator (Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, QUB)
  • Dr Anne Kouvonen: Co-Investigator (Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work, QUB)
  • Dr Michael Donnelly: Co-Investigator ((Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Science, QUB)
  • Professor Allen Thurston: Co-Investigator (Education, QUB)
  • Frances Burns: ADRC-NI Project Manager (Centre for Public Health, QUB)
  • Samantha Livingstone: ADRC-NI Project Administrator (Centre for Public Health, QUB)