Networked Data Lab (NDL)

Networked Data Lab (NDL)

Networked Data Lab (NDL)

Funder: The Health Foundation
Duration: Phase 1: September 2020 - March 2023, Phase 2: March 2023 - March 2026
Chief Investigator: Professor Corri Black
Analytical Lead: Dr Jess Butler
Other UoA co-investigators: Ms Katie Wilde, Dr Magda Rzewuska, Dr William Ball, Dr Helen Rowlands
NHS Grampian co-investigators: Ms Susan Webb

The Networked Data Lab (NDL) is a Health Foundation initiative that is building a collaborative network of analytical teams across the UK to produce insights on critical areas of population health and health care, using linked health datasets. The 5 UK partners bring together analytical expertise in the use of linked datasets, to address key issues for population health and care services.

The NDL provides an important complement to a developing ecosystem of health data linkage. The problems the NDL are tackling are common to many localities, but often very complex. By working collaboratively, we are striving to combine the best of local expertise with the learning that comes from collaborative working towards a shared goal. By producing meaningful insights from data that can be used both locally and nationally, it will enable us to use data to improve the health and care of people across the country.

Further information

What is the project?

The Networked Data Lab is a Health Foundation initiative, building a collaborative network of advanced analytical teams from across the UK, working together and sharing expertise to address shared challenges.

The 5 partners are:

  • Grampian: The Aberdeen Centre for Health Data Science (ACHDS), NHS Grampian and the University of Aberdeen
  • Wales: Public Health Wales, NHS Wales Informatics Service, Swansea University and Social Care Wales
  • North West London: Imperial College Health Partners, Institute of Global Heath Innovation, Imperial College London and North West London CCGs
  • Liverpool: Liverpool CCG, Healthy Wirral Partnership and Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Leeds: Leeds CCG & Leeds City Council

There are three main strands of work being undertaken:

Analysis to inform decision making in health and social care – related to understanding health inequalities, health and care needs for patients, service provision and care quality and often complex health hand care pathways.

Investment in data stewardship – building analytical skills capabilities within the partner teams to provide a long-term benefit locally.

Development of open source tools and products – taking an Open approach in sharing code and other data products from analysis, to be made freely available so that others may benefit.

What are the aims?
Our Aim

The overall aim of the Networked Data Lab is to improve health and care services and reduce health inequalities in the UK. We will achieve this aim by producing timely insights on the immediate problems facing the health and care service, and deeper insights into health inequalities and social determinants of health. The Networked Data Lab will also develop models of open and collaborative analytics, and models of engagement with patients and the public, that can be scaled, spread and adapted to the changing health landscape.

Topics covered

Phase 1 - Topic 1: COVID-19 and the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Population

Phase 1 - Topic 2: Children and Young People's Mental Health

Phase 1 - Topic 3: Unpaid Carers

Phase 2 - Topic 1: TBC

What are the benefits?

The NHS, local authorities, and broader public services collect enormous amounts of data on the health and wellbeing of individuals, what social or economic needs they might have and the services they use. By linking these datasets together, it is possible to build a more complete picture on the links between the wider determinants of health, health needs, service use, patient pathways, and health outcomes.

Several areas across the UK have already developed linked datasets – datasets that incorporate data from the different providers of health and care services including GPs, hospitals and local authorities. Valuable insights and analyses are emerging from the use of these linked datasets, helping health care leaders to understand the needs of their local population and how local organisations work together to provide services. There is now an opportunity to bring analysts in these pioneer areas together, to solve shared problems and synthesise analyses to inform decision making at a local and national level.

Phase 1 - Topic 1: COVID-19 and the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable Population

Breifing paper: Hodgson K, Butler JE, Davies A, Houston S, Marszalek K, Peytrignet S, Piroddi R, Wood F, Deeny S. Assessing the impact of COVID-19 on the clinically extremely vulnerable population. The Health Foundation; 2021

Pre-print article: Butler JE, Nath M, Blana D, Ball WP, Beech N, Black C, Osler G, Peytrignet S, Wilde K, Wozniak A, Sawhney S. The clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID: Identification and changes in healthcare while self-isolating (shielding) during the coronavirus pandemic. medRxiv; 2021

Phase 1 - Topic 2: Children and Young People's Mental Health

Breifing paper: Grimm F, Alcock B, Butler J, Fernandez Crespo R, Davies A, Peytrignet S, Piroddi R, Thorlby R, Tallack C. Improving children and young people’s mental health services: Local data insights from England, Scotland and Wales. The Health Foundation; 2022

Journal article: Ball, W.P., Black, C., Gordon, S. et al. Inequalities in children’s mental health care: analysis of routinely collected data on prescribing and referrals to secondary care. BMC Psychiatry 23, 22 (2023).

Study team

Chief Investigator

Analytical Lead:



If you have any questions or comments about the project, please contact Dr Jessica Butler at the following address: