ESRC Datasets

If your proposed project will involve the use of ESRC Datasets, it is vital that you include full details on your application as the ESRC have asked the SWDTP to steer four studentships per year.

Use of ESRC datasets

ESRC are keen to develop capacity within the academic community to make best use of Datasets and therefore they require the SWDTP to allocate four studentships from the annual allocation of 45 to fund projects that utilise ESRC Datasets.  These projects will be submitted via any of the 17 SWDTP interdisciplinary or disciplinary pathways and it will be important that you clearly indicate via your application that you will be using an ESRC Dataset.  To attract the ESRC steered funding, projects using ESRC Datasets must meet the following criteria to include:

  • Analysis using at least one ESRC-funded data resource or infrastructure (as defined below). These can be used in conjunction with other datasets, including international ones.
  • A central part of the studentship should develop capacity in the analysis of secondary data. This does not exclude the undertaking of new research.

The following are examples of the types of studentships which would be viewed as meeting the steer:

  • The use of ESRC-funded longitudinal datasets to examine the longitudinal associations between social capital, health and wellbeing across the life course.
  • Taking a mixed-methods approach that includes the use of ESRC datasets to investigate caregiving practices and nutritional health. This might include the quantitative analysis of relevant datasets and the qualitative analysis of interviews or diaries.
  • The analysis of ESRC datasets to improve our understanding of the interplays between social context, biological processes and functional capacity.
  • Explore the relationships between housing, labour markets and welfare by developing new models to integrate linked government data, and analyse key policy developments.
  • Explore whether investments in health and wellbeing can lead to better educational outcomes using a mixed methods approach. It will include the creation and analysis of a retrospective cohort through the linking of survey and administrative data.

Please note that projects seeking to use the ADRN should receive support from the ADRN prior to starting their studentship. Projects must meet the criteria of an ADRN project as outlined here: Students, with the support of their supervisors, are strongly encouraged to develop project proposals in parallel with the ADRN.

List of eligible ESRC-funded data resources and infrastructure

Please note all resources are accessible via the UK Data Service ( unless stated otherwise.

Longitudinal resources:

Biosocial resources:

  • Understanding Society Biosocial Sweep
  • 1958 National Child Development Study Biosocial Sweep
  • English Longitudinal Study of Ageing Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (

Big Data resources:

Election resources

  • British Election Study
  • British election study ethnic minority surveys
  • Scottish Election Studies
  • Welsh Election Studies
  • Northern Ireland Election Study
  • Scottish Referendum Study
  • Local Election Studies Database

Employment resources

  • Skills and Employment Survey Series
  • Workplace Employment Relations Surveys

International comparative resources

  • European Social Survey
  • Harmonised European Time Use Study 2000 (The data from the Harmonised European Time Use Study 2015 will be available from March 2016 and will offer comparative opportunities through a harmonised dataset)
  • International Social Survey Programme (
  • Multinational Time Use Study (

Linguistics resources

  • British National Corpus
  • British Sign Language Corpus

Qualitative resources

Other resources

  • Poverty and Social Exclusion in the UK: Research Surveys 2012
  • Northern Ireland Life and Times
  • Kids’ Life and Times
  • Young Life and Times Survey