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What is the Sandbox?

The Sandbox will be a virtual testing environment for products, services, innovations or knowledge that require access to large scale data to improve the health of patients and the population. It will provide test cases for a new government initiative, led by Health Data Research UK, to transform access to the UK’s health data – safely and securely – for research that could pioneer new and faster treatments for patients and find new cures for diseases.

Sandbox requirement

Participation in the Sandbox will give users the opportunity to receive support and advice as they research and develop a product, service, innovation or new area of knowledge that requires access to large scale health data. Participants will also be part of a community and user group which will play an important role in helping to shape the UK’s health data infrastructure for research and innovation.

We are seeking diverse uses and users to help us develop the DIH programme to meet data user requirements. We encourage researchers and innovators from industry, the NHS, academia and charities to submit examples of data uses that would be helped by the DIH developments, for example, by making data easier to discover, access, link and/or analyse. Applications that wish to link datasets across Alliance members are encouraged.

There are a number of benefits to participating in the sandbox. These may include:

  • Access to expertise on coding, terminology, meta data, submissions and study feasibility.
  • Liaison with UK health data research Alliance members and other data custodians, and liaison with technical infrastructure services (safe havens).
  • Faster and better development of your research or innovation.
  • Being recognised for high quality participation in the HDR UK mission, by your stakeholders and the health data research community.
  • Contributing to the development of the UK’s health data research infrastructure and supporting the UK in its ambition to become the home of health data science.

The Sandbox is a development and testing environment. There is no funding associated with the Sandbox and participating in the Sandbox is no guarantee of successful access to requested data.

Up to 8 use cases will be selected by HDR UK based on six criteria:

  1. Will your product or service benefit patients and/or the public?
  2. Does the use case demonstrate innovative use of health data?
  3. Does the use case test all three elements of the DIH Programme (the Alliance, the Hubs and the Gateway) and how they interact?
  4. Does the DIH Programme have the potential to make a clear and distinct difference to the success of the use case?
  5. Can the use case achieve meaningful progress within 6 months that can inform the design of the DIH programme?
  6. Is the use case funded and approved, with the appropriate sign-offs and support that mean it is ready to join the Sandbox by 12 September 2019?

Getting started

Please submit all completed applications using this form, no later than 5pm (BST) 7 August 2019. All applications will be informed of the outcome by 23 August 2019.

Please include all the information we need to assess your application within this form and mark up any sections that are confidential or commercially sensitive.

Please do not use web-links or signpost to further information.

By submitting this form you are certifying that the information you have provided is true and accurate and that you have the relevant authority to make this application.

Click here to go to the Sandbox application form

Click here to view the principles for participation

The Health Data Research UK Sandbox is part of the Digital Innovation Hub Programme, funded by UK Research and Innovation’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. We are pleased to be running the Sandbox in partnership with the Medicines Discovery Catapult and the Kent Surrey Sussex AHSN.