Swansea University / Prifysgol Abertawe 

Harnessing public data to improve population health and wellbeing

World-leading research that harnesses data to improve public health and wellbeing, providing a secure national data linkage and access system for all public data in Wales, and increasingly other UK nations, delivering population-level insights for governments and policymakers. 

Swansea University’s Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) Databank is at the international forefront of Population Data Science, the growing and multidisciplinary field focusing on collections of individuals and the biological, economic, social, and environmental experiences that shape their lives, their health and their wellbeing. SAIL brings together, links and analyses data from multiple sources to deliver population-level insights for governments and policymakers. Simply put, SAIL’s mission is to make routinely collected data work hard for the public good.

Building on more than fifteen years of investment and experience, SAIL’s 220-member team conducts and supports world-leading research to develop analytical tools and methodologies, enabling researchers across the UK and internationally to use complex and diverse data at unprecedented depth and scale. Their work brings together healthcare professionals and scientists to undertake robust research in a world-renowned, secure data environment. Recognised as one of the world’s broadest and best-characterised population databanks, SAIL hosts comprehensive data about the Welsh population and is increasingly entrusted to manage data representing UK populations.

As a consequence, SAIL’s work underpinned wide ranging Covid-19 research and fast-response, data-driven policy intelligence for the Welsh and UK Governments, with SAIL consistently the best performing centre across the four nations in terms of acquiring new data and undertaking projects. SAIL is also the national data linkage and access system for public data in Wales (from every sector and across more than 500 organisations) and provides data linkage and banking services for numerous global initiatives. Crucially, the work of SAIL enriches the evidence base for policymakers, helping them to better understand the relationships between their various service provisions, ultimately improving people’s lives.