DaSH provides a secure setting for data linkage and data hosting projects accessed through a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Each research project within the Safe Haven has a dedicated secure folder where the research team can safely analyse their data without the ability to copy, print, or transfer data outside the Safe Haven.

DaSH provides a bespoke service based on the individual needs of the project. The DaSH team works with researchers to provide detailed project planning and data management support, outlined below, whilst ensuring adherence to the highest standards of security and governance, and protecting patient confidentiality.

If you have an idea for a data linkage project contact us at dash@abdn.ac.uk to discuss your requirements.

Project Planning Support

DaSH provides:

  • assistance with the planning and development of a Data Management Plan (DMP) which defines how the data will be handled, stored, archived and deleted
  • advice and input for funding and permissions applications
  • guidance on meeting Approved Researcher requirements
  • assistance with the planning and design of the study, identification of relevant datasets and development of a data specification for extracting, linking and formatting the research data
  • advice about meeting data sharing requirements and archiving of data
Data Management Services

Services include:

  • assistance with the development of a Data Linkage Plan (DLP) (study specific graphical representation of data linkage). The DLP illustrates where the data is coming from, the order of linkage of the datasets and storage locations of the data. Potentially identifiable variables will be removed from the linked research dataset are listed
  • data extraction from the Grampian Population Research Platform core dataset and support to obtain appropriate data from other datasets held externally to the Safe Have
  • deterministic and probabilistic linkage with documentation of linkage robustness, linkage methodology development
  • data anonymisation, cleaning, manipulation, and preparation of datasets for researcher use
  • dataset enhancement: creating variables, development and application of algorithms
  • generation of metadata and documentation of datasets
  • CHI indexing and Vital Status checking
Software & Costs


As part of our service we have various software packages available to researchers for analysis within the Safe Haven.

  • MS Office
  • SPSS Statistics
  • SAS
  • STATA 13
  • Adobe Acrobat (XI Pro, Distiller XI)
  • R
  • R Studio
  • MLwiN
  • Haskell Platform 2014 2.0.0


The DaSH service operates on a cost recovery basis and this cost should be included in grant applications. We welcome enquiries from researchers as early as possible in their project planning. There are separate access charges for some research datasets.

Costing is based on bespoke project requirements, allowing for duration of project and skills/support required from DaSH including, but not limited to: 

  • defining the requirements of the project
  • assisting with obtaining the necessary project and data permissions
  • preparation of data for linkage, including derivation of variables and flags if required
  • indexing
  • extracting and quality checking all data
  • linkage of specified datasets
  • disclosure risk assessment of research analyses
  • providing access to the Safe Haven for approved researchers to conduct analysis of the data
  • support for the duration of the project
  • IT Administration

Standard costings are based on salary and include the individual project requirement for:

  • Research Coordinator time
  • technical consultancy
  • programming time
  • data management services
  • storage
  • administrator time
Farr Room

The Farr Institute@Aberdeen Research Room (1.034 Polwarth Building) is available to book for researchers conducting data linkage research using DaSH or a project funded by The Farr Institute. Contact dash@abdn.ac.uk for bookings.


The Farr Institute@Aberdeen Research Room provides high quality facilities including:

  • a safe room environment equipped with a ‘dumb’ computer terminal (with larger than standard monitor) with access to the safe haven virtual desk top
  • videoconferencing equipment (available for use in September 2014)
  • overhead projector connectable to a laptop
  • tables and seating for 13
  • interactive SMART Board/projector screen
  • ADRN - Scotland Regional Safe Setting


Researchers are able to access their safe haven project folder and display the results of their analyses on screen (this avoids having to ask DaSH to check and release interim output files from the folder).


The room is secured by a swipe card system and will only be made available to eligible users at the time of a pre-booked meeting.