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Public sees benefit in sharing personal data for research

A report launched on Wednesday 7 September on the Northern Ireland Life and Times survey (NILT) on public attitudes to data sharing in Northern Ireland has found that there is strong public support for the sharing of personal data for research purposes where a clear benefit to society can be demonstrated.

It is the first survey of its kind to measure attitudes towards data sharing in Northern Ireland, with a focus on health data.

Professor Gillian Robinson, co-author of the report, said We’ve found that where the public has trust in organisations that hold data, there are strong data protection measures in place, and clearly demonstrated public benefit from the sharing of data, there is significant public support for the sharing of data”.

Dr. Dermot O’Reilly, Director of the ADRC-NI, welcomed the research, saying “This is the first time that attitudes towards data sharing have been measured in Northern Ireland. It is crucial for researchers to continue to engage with the public on the potential uses of data for research, and that we both understand and address their concerns as well as their desire to see data used for the public benefit.”

Dr Janice Bailie, Assistant Director of the Public Health Agency’s HSC R&D Division commented: “HSC R&D Division is delighted to provide funding for this important research into how the Northern Ireland public feels about the use of their data".

Download the report here>

Access presentations from the launch here>