What can the Health Data Research Innovation Gateway tell you?
The Innovation Gateway (‘Gateway’) provides a common entry point to discover and request access to health information (health data) held within UK health datasets. The Gateway does not hold or store any health data. It allows researchers to see descriptions (metadata) of health datasets available in the UK so that they can request access to them for research.

The Gateway was developed because there are thousands of health datasets in the UK that are separated and held by different organisations. This means it is hard for researchers to find out what is available. The Gateway helps to solve this problem through one website which lets researchers find and learn information about health datasets. They can then decide whether these datasets would be useful for their research and apply for access to them safely and securely. In this way, the Gateway can help researchers carry out important research to make innovative discoveries and improve people’s lives.

The Gateway is mainly for researchers, innovators, and data custodians to discover and request access to health datasets. In order for the Gateway to have the confidence of everyone, including researchers, patients and the public, it is important to us that we involve different communities in our work. This will help us ensure that the Gateway is a trusted and accessible tool, and that the site provides the information that everyone needs.


Frequently asked questions


The Gateway is like a search-engine or ‘portal’ that helps researchers and innovators find out about UK health datasets. It provides descriptions of health datasets. If a researcher finds a dataset that they think could be useful to their research, they can request access to view and use the information in that dataset for their work. This is a rigorous process by which their application is reviewed, and access will be granted or refused by the person or organisation responsible for the safety and security of the dataset.

No, the Gateway does not hold or store any health data, but your health data may be included inside a dataset. The Gateway only contains descriptions of UK health datasets. Researcher can read these descriptions and then request access to the datasets. If they are granted access, they would use the health dataset through a Data Custodian’s Safe Haven or Trusted Research Environment (TRE). Only data that is deemed not to be sensitive can be used outside of a TRE. Any health data held within a dataset does not show an individual’s health information (it is de-identified). There are various safeguards in place to reduce the risk of data being re-identified. To learn more about identifiability, please see this Understanding Patient Data guide.

No one can see health data on the Gateway, but everyone can see the descriptions of health datasets on the Gateway. Only researchers or innovators with a registered account on the Gateway can request access to view the full information that is contained within a dataset. The data custodian responsible for the safe use of this dataset would make the final decision on whether to allow the researcher access to it.

View the full FAQs and Glossary

What have researchers been looking at on the Gateway?
  • Explore our Gateway collections - these group health data resources listed on the Gateway (datasets, tools, papers and data uses) around a particular topic.
How does information about health data get onto the Gateway?

  • The Gateway is managed by Health Data Research UK (HDR UK). HDR UK is the national institute for health data science and its mission is to unite the UK’s health data to enable discoveries that improve people’s lives.
  • Descriptions about datasets are added to the Gateway by many different organisations. Researchers can then come to the Gateway to find out about the range of datasets available and more easily and efficiently request access to them.
Ways to get involved

  • The Gateway is constantly in development and it is vital to have input and feedback from a broad range of audiences to make sure that the site works for everyone using it. Patient and public involvement is key to making the Gateway accessible, transparent and to ensure trust and confidence in the use of health data for research.