Professor David Ford

Swansea University

Professor David Ford is Professor of Informatics at Swansea University and Director of Population Data Science based in Swansea University Medical School. Professor Ford has won over £70m in new research projects and infrastructure grants awarded by high-esteem funders in recent years. He is Principal Investigator (PI) of the Administrative Data Research Wales (ADRC Wales), a £7.2m investment into Wales by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as part of its Big Data initiative. He is the PI of the UK Multiple Sclerosis Register (funded by MS Society); Joint PI of the Family Justice Data Partnership (funded by Nuffield Foundation); Deputy Director of the Substantive Health Data Research UK (HDR UK) for Wales and Northern Ireland; Chief Data Officer for BREATHE - The Health Research Hub for Respiratory Health. Professor Ford is also the Co-Founder and Director of the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) Databank, and the Secure e-Research Platform (SeRP), which is increasingly used by researchers and data custodians around the world to safely curate and share the data.

10:35 - 11:30

Monday 10 May

Secure Anonymised Information Linkage Databank (SAIL) ‘public data, for public good’

Containing billions of person-based records, from the last quarter of a century or more, SAIL Databank is a rich and trusted population data resource based within Swansea University Medical School whose influence stretches globally. SAIL Databank is accredited to the highest international standards and exists to improve lives by providing researchers with secure, linkable and anonymised data that can be accessed and analysed from anywhere in the world – public data, for public good.


Recently voted in DataIQ’s 100 most influential people in data, Professor David Ford will speak about the pioneering work that he others undertook to establish a privacy-protecting repository for de-identified population data that could be unlocked for society’s benefit. Professor Ford’s presentation will cover the vast array of different data types entrusted to SAIL Databank since those early beginnings, including health, housing, education and other administrative data, and underline the strict governance processes that keeps the data secure but also helps to facilitate and support world-changing research.