1. Background

Each year, around 250 projects gain approval to access the secure data we manage for statistical research. The research outcomes inform a diverse range of economic or societal issues, including the UK government's response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The awards recognise the excellent and innovative analyses carried out and promote best practice research methodologies and data matching or linking. The awards promote greater awareness and understanding of the data made available and the public good achieved from statistical research.

Award winners will be invited to attend our headline Research Capability 2022 event in London for an official awards ceremony, presented by National Statistician, Sir Ian Diamond.

2. Awards

This year, we are delighted to offer five award categories.

ONS Research Excellence Award

Nominations should include clear examples of how the research project has demonstrated excellence in methodology, collaboration, communication and presentation of research, and public benefit or impact. These awards will be decided by an independent judging panel made up of experts from across the research community.

ONS Cross-government Analysis Award

Nominations should include clear involvement of two or more UK public sector organisations, government departments or public bodies in at least one key stage of the research process.

For any eligibility enquiries please contact the ONS Research Excellence Awards team.

ONS Linked Administrative Data Award

This award recognises innovative or detailed research use of linked administrative data. Nominations should include Linked Administrative Data as the primary source on which data analysis was based for the project output(s) and explain how what you have done with the data in novel or exemplary.

ONS Early Career Research Award

In order to apply for this award, you must be in the first five years of career or have a maximum of four year's academic research experience following the completion of your PhD, or equivalent professional standing. You must have been the principal analyst on the Accredited Project, but not necessarily the Nominated Project Lead.

ONS People's Choice Award

All eligible entries will automatically be entered into the People's Choice Award, which will be open to all to cast their votes.

You may apply for more than one category, but it is likely we will limit the number of awards an applicant can win.

3. Eligibility

To be eligible for entry, your research must:  

  • have had research outputs/outcomes, impacts or benefits made publicly available between 1 April 2021 and 15 July 2022. This can include research findings published on a website, repository, open access journal, press releases or in announcements about new policy decisions.

  • feature analysis that has used data owned or managed by ONS (together with other data sources where relevant) through an approved legal gateway, for example, the Digital Economy Act (DEA) for Accredited Research.

  • demonstrate evidence of delivering one or more public benefits for the UK, for example:

    • providing an evidence base for public policy decision-making (for example development or evaluation).
    • providing an evidence base for public service delivery.
    • providing an evidence base for decisions that are likely to significantly benefit the UK economy, UK society or quality of life of people in the UK.
    • replicating, validating or challenging Official Statistics.
    • replicating, validating or challenging existing research.
    • significantly extend understanding of social or economic trends or events by improving knowledge or challenging widely accepted analyses.
  • improve the quality, coverage or presentation of existing statistical information.

Your research can:  

  • include new analytic outputs or outcomes realised from previously published research, including previous ONS Research Excellence Award applications.
  • show innovative use (including in combination with other data sources and new methodologies), analysis or evaluation of the research data and outputs.
  • demonstrate collaboration with partners inside and outside the organisation, where appropriate, to gain insight and inform research methodologies, interpretation, outcomes and dissemination.
  • deliver research outcomes that are engaging and disseminated to others, including those in non-analytical professions, to help ensure the findings are clear, helpful, understood, accessible and encourage democratic debate.

4. Applying

Applying for the ONS Research Excellence Awards is simple. You can submit an application via our easy-to-use online application form, which enables you to complete the sections relevant to your submission, offering comprehensive guidance along the way.

Please submit your application before midnight on 29 July 2022.

If you have any questions about the award, or would like further information, please email us.

5. Examples

Last year we awarded five innovative and diverse research projects. You can familiarise yourself with some of these before applying.