A year in impact – 2023

Profile photo of James LockwoodAs 2023 draws to a close, our Research Impact and Engagement Manager, James Lockwood, looks back over some of the impact highlights of the year.

The Health Case for Basic Income

We were privileged to work with the Health Case for Basic Income research group on a case study of their work.

Research on Basic Income often looks at the financial implications of schemes including how much the payments should be, how much a scheme would cost and how much benefit this would provide to the economy. The work outlined in this case study takes a different angle. The researchers look not just at the financial implications but focus instead on the potential health benefits to people who receive money through a basic income scheme.

The studies and trials conducted over the course of this project have shown that basic income can impact people’s health positively in many ways, including:

  • Addressing poverty: which increases people’s ability to satisfy their basic needs, for example helping them to afford better food and housing.
  • Reducing income inequality: also giving people the option to leave abusive, damaging environments. This would reduce stress and related illnesses.
  • Providing a predictable and secure future: increasing people’s perception of their lifespan and making it worthwhile for them to invest in healthy behaviours.

The research made use Family Resources SurveyMillennium Cohort StudyNext Steps and Understanding Society from the UK Data Service collection.

For an introduction you can read the accompanying blog post, or see the full case study here for more details of the findings, the methods and the impact this work has had.

On the Data Impact blog

2023 has been another year full of engaging and thought-provoking posts on the blog. And, if you find yourself inspired by what you read here or have a passion to share how your work with UK Data Service data has created impact, been innovative or opened up ethical or other considerations, then we’d very much welcome talking to you, so do get in touch!

The Covid Social Mobility and Opportunities Study (COSMO) team made the first wave of their survey available via the UK Data Service at the end of 2022. We were delighted that Jake Anders, the principal investigator of the project, shared some findings from the first release. Also related to Covid, Dr Charlotte Booth discussed new research from the National Core Studies Longitudinal Health and Wellbeing initiative on working from home and mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic.

With one of our focuses this year being our impact themes, we had several posts around our Poverty in data theme. Researchers from the Health Foundation shared about their work looking at the levels of deprivation and poverty among health care workers. Tej Nathwani shared about a new area-based measure of deprivation created by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). Blanca Piera Pi-Sunyer discussed her research into the impact of perceived income inequality on adolescents’ mental health. Dr Liming Li, British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at King’s College London, wrote about her recent research into welfare benefits, single mothers and the impact on children’s mental health.

Our other two themes are Housing and homelessness in data and Mental Health in data. Linking those two topics, Amy Clair and Emma Baker, from the University of Adelaide, shared their research on the impact of cold homes on people’s mental health. Linked to mental health, Daniel Yu wrote about the Landscaping International Longitudinal Datasets project which seeks to improve access to mental health research data.

It was also great to highlight other impactful work across a range of areas including the skills mismatch in the UK, educational isolation, gender differences in risk taking and loss aversion and the significance of physical activity and sleep for cognitive benefits.

Highlighting expertise from within

As well as highlight top-quality, data-driven research from those who work with data available via the UK Data Service, or those who are doing innovative work with data, it was great to be able to highlight some of the expertise that the Service has to offer users of the data, depositors and researchers more broadly.

Dr Oliver Duke-Williams, the UK Data Service Director for Census, explored some of the interesting findings in the 2021 census data in a two-part series. In part one he looked at some interesting findings from travel to work data. In the second post, he examined what the future might hold for the census, and discussed the impact of the Scottish census taking place in 2022, and how we can use this offset as a natural experiment.

Cristina Magder, the Data Collections Development Manager at the UK Data Service, discussed data licenses and access frameworks and how they are an integral part of what we do at the Service.

We spoke to Dr Victoria Moody, Deputy Director and Co-Investigator at the UK Data Service about her career in research and impact and why impact should be something all researchers plan for.

It was great to able to highlight an innovation that allows researchers to access secure data internationally. Beate Lichtwardt from the UK Data Service and Deborah Wiltshire from the GESIS-Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences discussed this exciting new initiative.

And last, but by no means least, Dr J. Kasmire, who leads our Computational Social Sciences (CSS) team discussed what research questions are, and what makes a good one. It was also great to have Dr Kasmire meet with our current cohort of Data Impact Fellows as well to share about the work the CSS team is doing.

Speaking of our Data Impact Fellows…

Data Impact Fellows

Our Data Impact Fellows scheme provides support for Early Career Researchers in the academic and charity sectors who are starting out on their data impact journey.

This year’s applications were of extremely high quality, making the judges‘ job extremely difficult. After much deliberation, it was decided to make seven awards.

It’s been great to work and meet with the seven Fellows over the year, and to hear from them in various posts on the Data Impact blog. We look forward to hearing them share more of their experiences, insights and research in 2024. You can find out where the Fellows are working currently below, and more details on what their research is focussed on here.


Daniel Muir

Daniel is a Research Economist (Fellow) at the Institute for Employment Studies (IES).

Read Daniel’s blog posts and follow him on X (Twitter).

Naomi Miall

Naomi Miall is an affiliate researcher at the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit at the University of Glasgow. She now also works at Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, on a program to improve global access to HPV vaccination for adolescent girls.

Read Naomi’s blog posts and follow her on  X (Twitter).

Natasha Chilman

Natasha is a third-year PhD student at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London.

Read Natasha’s blog posts and follow her on X (Twitter).


Niels Blom

Niels is a Research Fellow at the Violence and Society Centre at City, University of London.

Read Niels’ blog posts.


Niloofar Shoari

Niloofar is an MRC Early Career Research Fellow at the Centre for Environment and Health, Imperial College London.

Read Niloofar’s blog posts and follow her on X (Twitter).


Rhiannon Williams

Rhiannon is a Research Associate at the University of Sheffield, working in CaCHE and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning.

Read Rhiannon’s blog posts and follow her on X (Twitter).


Tasos Papastylianou

Tasos is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Public Health and Wellbeing, at the University of Essex.

Read Tasos’ blog posts.


About the author

James Lockwood is Research Impact and Engagement Manager at the UK Data Service.

You can find more about the UK Data Service training and events on our website.

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