Five teams of researchers have been recognised at Research Capability 2021, an event held by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), recognising outstanding, innovative research carried out using ONS secure data or data managed by the ONS on behalf of others.

Dr Mark Green accepted the Research Excellence Award today on behalf of their team at the University of Liverpool.

Their project, "Local Data Spaces" supported local authorities' response to coronavirus (COVID-19) by upskilling staff and helping them to access and use data from the ONS's Secure Research Service, informing urgent policy decisions.

The judging panel agreed that the Administrative Data Research (ADR) UK-funded project "demonstrated the full potential of collaboration between local authorities and academia to tackle complex problems at pace and inform policy".

The Programme Award was accepted by Vasileios Antonopoulos on behalf of the Cabinet Office's Race Disparities Unit, which used secure data to report on the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on ethnic minority groups.

Their project connected data providers and researchers, and identified new risk factors for different ethnic groups, leading to a series of government interventions to protect ethnic minorities from infection and mortality from COVID-19.

David Buil-Gil took home the Early Career Award on behalf of the University of Manchester for research on new techniques for researching crime in small geographic areas.

Published across four papers, this PhD research produced reliable small area estimates of survey-recorded crime and perceptions of crime, and developed a method that is transferrable to other areas of research.

The Link Administrative Data Awardwas accepted by Rachel Plachcinski of City, University of London for her team's project, which developed a linked birth cohort and used it to analyse the timing of births and their outcome. The judges commended the project for prioritising public engagement and collaboration.

Finally, the People's Choice Award, decided upon by a public vote, was accepted by Nadia Butler of Liverpool John Moores University for research on the contribution of childhood abuse to risk of physical assault, intimate partner violence and sexual violence in adulthood. It found that victims of childhood abuse were up to seven times more likely to experience violence as an adult.

Alison Pritchard, Deputy National Statistician and Director General for Data Capability, commended the winners on their projects saying:

"It's fantastic to see such a wide range of topics and I'm delighted to congratulate all of today's winners on their achievements.

"Amazing research using secure data has continued to thrive despite the challenges COVID brought this year, in some cases even contributing to the fight against the virus. Every project this year is a testament to the incredible impact this kind of work can have."

Notes to editors

The ONS Research Excellence Award recognises and celebrates outstanding, innovative research carried out using ONS secure data or data managed by the ONS on behalf of others in our Secure Research Service. The research must deliver a public benefit to the UK while protecting data confidentiality. Read more about the ONS Secure Research Service.

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