Since 2015, I have led a consortium of four data services: the UK Data service, ONS virtual Microdata Laboratory and HMRC datalab and the Administrative Data Research Network to produce joint safe researcher training programme called Safe Users of Research data Environments (SURE). This has been successful; the new training went live on the 4th January 2016. This required a series of all-day meetings to harmonise the training and also to introduce a new formal testing process.
We are now implementing a framework of policy and procedures for cross recognition of each other’s training and during 2017 we will be moving to a national system of researcher certification. The training has been specified as the required training within the revised ONS approved researcher guidelines. The end result will be that the researchers will only need to the train once and then will receive a passport which will allow them to access all member services. We are also building processes for online refresher training to be delivered every 3 years and an online module for associated researchers (typically PIs and PhD supervisors) who are part of projects but do not actually have their hands on data. Finally, we are developing a formal train the trainers process (which I have been trialling within the ADRN – which consists four separate research data centres) so that SURE trainers will also be accredited.
We have a dozen other services across the UK who want to join the framework. Needless to say we are strongly supported by ESRC, MRC and other funders in this endeavour.