The SafePod Network (SPN) is an investment from the Economic and Social Research Council. The main objective of SPN is to improve public benefit research by supporting, strengthening and widening remote access to research datasets from higher education institutions across the UK, through the provision and operation of an independent network of safe setting facilities, known as SafePods®.

SPN will comprise of the following:

  • A network of SafePods based across eligible organisations across the UK;
  • A web application to provide information about the work of SPN and for booking SafePods;
  • Policies, procedures and assurances for the operation and management of SPN and SafePods;
  • A firewall service to provide the security boundaries for SafePod services;
  • A CCTV service to enable Data Centres to view and monitor activity within a SafePod;
  • A dedicated User Support Service to assist stakeholders with SPN enquiries;
  • An Advisory Board to plan and make decisions on the long-term objectives of SPN.

The major benefit of a SafePod to a researcher is that they will be able to have local access to project datasets, without the need for long distance travel to a dedicated safe setting provided by a Data Centre.

For a participating Data Centre, SPN provides a low cost secure platform to widen access to their datasets across the UK for research purposes. A SafePod design and their policies and procedures for management and operation are standardised. This means that a single accreditation for use of a SafePod by a Data Centre is all that is required in order for them to accredit the full SafePod Network.

A SafePod is designed to replicate existing traditional safe settings and security features include door control access, CCTV camera system and a separate secure storage area for necessary IT hardware and equipment. No datasets are held within a SafePod. Instead a secure connection is provided from a SafePod to a Data Centre for a researcher to view and analyse their project datasets.

The Office for National Statistics has just accredited SafePods for remote access to their Secure Research Service datasets.

Application procedures for a SafePod

This call is aimed at any higher education institution or RCUK funded organisation that is interested in social science and administrative datasets for research purposes.

Further information on how to apply and a brochure is available from the ESRC website at

For informal enquiries please contact 01334 463901 or email