SafePod Network

SafePod Network

Welcome to the safepod network

The SafePod Network (SPN) is a major new innovation providing researchers with standardised safe settings (SafePods) across the UK for data that requires secure access for research.

All SafePods operate under standardised policies and procedures and provide approved researchers with access to their project datasets from Data Centres that join the SPN.  So far, this includes:

  • Office for National Statistics;
  • UK Data Service;
  • SAIL Databank; and
  • Scottish Government.  

The major benefits of the SPN are outlined here.

The SafePod Network is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and is part of the Administrative Data Research UK programme.

ABOUT safEpod

Picture of a SafePod


A SafePod is a standardised safe setting that provides the security and controls for data that requires secure access for research.  A SafePod includes a door control access system, CCTV, a researcher area for dataset analysis, secure IT cupboard and a height adjustable desk.

SafePods status
View the go live status for SafePods here.

Further information
Read more about SafePods and how datasets are accessed here.

Researcher registration

Researchers must register with the SPN (which includes passing an online training questionnaire on the SPN User Agreement) before a SafePod can be booked and used to access project datasets.  Further details about the researcher registration process is available here


A number of organisations provide a wide variety of data for researchers to access through the SafePod Network.  For more information click here


The major objectives of the SPN are to:

  • Significantly improve the quantity and diversity of public benefit research by providing researchers with equitable and secure access to data through the provision of a network of SafePods across the UK;
  • Improve and widen the sharing of data for public benefit research by raising awareness and advocating the work of the SPN with data centres in the UK; and 
  • Provide clear information and sign posting for researchers to be able to understand how to access data for public benefit research from all safe settings across the UK.

spn principles

There are four main SPN principles that underpin secure access to data for research from a SafePod.  These are:

    A researcher must abide by the SPN User Agreement and pass a training questionnaire before they can book and use SafePods.
    A local SafePod Coordinator manages their SafePod in line with SPN procedures.  SafePod Coordinators are background checked and must pass a training questionnaire.
    A hardened IT system stored securely in a SafePod provides connection over a VPN for a researcher to remotely access their project datasets from a SafePod. 
    A SafePod provides a dedicated area for a researcher to analyse and work on their project datasets.  The area is door access controlled and contains a CCTV system. 


Durham University's SafePod is now live and available for bookings.

Health and Social Care Northern Ireland join the SafePod Network, providing access to their data from SafePods.

17.11.22 Northumbria University's SafePod is now open and available for bookings.

17.10.22. GW4 Alliance to host webinar for the SafePod Network and open days for SafePods.