The SafePod at The University of Sheffield is a safe setting allowing researchers to access sensitive datasets.


SafePod Network

The SafePod Network (SPN) is a major research innovation to provide and manage a network of standardised safe settings (SafePods) across the UK for data that requires secure access for research.

All SafePods operate under standardised policies and procedures and provide accredited researchers with access to their project datasets from Data Centres that join the SPN.

The SPN is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and run by the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research as part of the ADR UK programme.

What is a SafePod?

A SafePod is a small standardised safe setting that provides the physical security and controls for a researcher to access sensitive datasets. This includes a door control access system, CCTV, a researcher area for the analysis of datasets and a separate secure storage area for IT equipment. A SafePod is also wheelchair accessible and includes a height adjustable desk.

The major advantage for a researcher is that they will now be able to securely access different Data Centre datasets from a single local SafePod, removing the geographical, time and cost barriers that have typically been associated with a researcher attending one of the few safe settings across the UK.

A total of 25 SafePods will be part of the SafePod Network and spread geographically across the UK.

Data Centres joining the SPN

A wealth of government datasets, as well as study and survey datasets will be available for secure access from SafePods. This will include datasets from:

  • Office for National Statistics Secure Research Service
    • ONS Integrated Data Service
    • ONS test server
  • UK Data Service;
  • SAIL Databank; 
  • Scottish Government;  
  • Health and Social Care Northern Ireland;
  • National Records of Scotland;
  • Public Health Scotland (forthcoming).
  • Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA) - LASER

Other Data Centres are expected to join the SPN to provide access to their datasets over time.

Booking the SafePod

To book the SafePod at The University of Sheffield follow the instructions below:

● Ensure you are an approved researcher with a project approval in place with a Data Centre
that has joined the SPN. 
Register as a researcher with the SPN. Registration will involve completing a short online questionnaire on SPN User policies.
● Once your registration is complete, make a booking request for The University of Sheffield
SafePod from the SafePod Network website.
● Your SafePod booking request will then be sent to your chosen Data Centre. If approved, a
booking confirmation email will then be sent to you.

On the day of the booking, come to Western Bank Library and ask for the SafePod Coordinator. Please bring valid identification and follow instructions provided in your booking confirmation email.

Where needed, priority of access will be given for research that is critical to society and the economy.

SafePod location and opening hours.

The University of Sheffield SafePod is located on Level 5 of Western Bank Library. The general opening hours are 9am-4pm Monday to Friday.

More information

For more information about The University of Sheffield SafePod, please contact

Further information about the SPN and SafePod locations is available from their website at

SafePod is a registered trademark of the University of St Andrews.

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