Publication - Minutes

Research Data Scotland (RDS) Transition Board minutes: November 2020

Published: 7 Dec 2020
Digital Directorate
Part of:
Public sector
Date of meeting: 17 Nov 2020
Date of next meeting: 16 Dec 2020

Minutes of the Research Data Scotland (RDS) Transition Board held on 17 November 2020.

7 Dec 2020
Research Data Scotland (RDS) Transition Board minutes: November 2020

Attendees and apologies


  • Roger Halliday - Chair
  • Nicola Kerr
  • Carole Morris
  • Mark Parsons 
  • Jill Pell
  • Alan Ferrier
  • Alessia Morris
  • Angela Daly
  • Albert King
  • Chris Dibben
  • Emily Jefferson
  • Pete Whitehouse
  • Neil Rawlins – minute taker    
  • Corri Black
  • Phil Couser
  • Carol Sinclair

Items and actions


  • confirmation that previous meeting minutes and actions are on the RDS website - NR
  • highlight report to be amended to reflect current position with PHS - NK
  • early version of TOM for years 1, 3 and 5 to be developed for the next meeting    AM
  • explore suggestion to set up a workgroup to consider NRS IT requirements to support the wider partnership - AM/AF
  • JP to circulate NIHR email and present at next or subsequent Board meeting - JP
  • AM to talk to EJ regarding collaboration between RDS and the RSH - AM/EJ
  • bring IG proposal to the next meeting - AM
  • EJ to share the paper on RSH architecture, structures and technology - EJ

Welcome and introductions

Previous minutes and actions - (papers A and B)

Update on progress and actions from the previous meeting.

Action one:

  • confirmation that previous meeting minutes and actions are on the RDS website

Progress report - highlight report (paper C), road map (paper D) and risk register (paper E)

The three papers were introduced. There was an update on risk, in particular Location and Service Design where there has been a delay because of staff shortages. It was noted that the UoE partner Policy and Resource Committee needed to know the details of partnership arrangement to be able to take RDS membership forward. The finance risk for the founding partners needs to be communicated. It was noted that funding has been committed to RDS from SG over five years. It was also reported that the VAT situation will be looked into and shared within the OBC and FBC and available for the UoE Court meeting in January. It was confirmed that the paper required for formal approval was the FBC. It was also noted that a final decision on membership for PHS had to be agreed by the PHS leadership and Board.

Action two:

  • highlight report to be amended to reflect this

A Target Operating Model (TOM) for years one, three and five needed to be developed and that an early version of this should be available for the next meeting.

Action three:

  • early version of TOM for years 1, 3 and 5 to be developed for the next meeting

A question was asked regarding Risk T9 on the risk register. NRS had an update regarding an options appraisal. There are short and long term issues, including currently looking for an indexing software update from IT, short term resilience and Big Match replacement, including a bespoke solution, and are currently working with EPCC on this. A question was asked about the technical group TAG, which was originally under ADR, however, this group could be re-purposed to spec up the requirements. It was noted that the EPCC team was well placed to lead and develop this. It was pointed out that a technical group should be set up to undertake this and that consideration into the membership of the group undertaken.

Action four:

  • a workgroup is to be set up to consider how best to take forward this work

Progress report - funding and financing update

There was an update on the financial situation and funding bids. HDR-UK funding of up to £2.5 million will be now available, the next phase of ADR-UK funding for the next financial year has been agreed and a five year investment from SG of £5 million per annum has been agreed. Further funding is being sought, including from UKRI. This gives a level of certainty as to what RDS can do and an ability to develop a more fully fledged operating model and service offering. It was noted that NIHR funding may be available for novel forms of data or funding of resources.

Action five:

  • JP to circulate NIHR email and present at next or subsequent Board meeting

Progress reports (to note)

An update on the various progress reports circulated earlier was provided. Regarding the IG, there had been a lot of work on safe settings and personal as well as non-personal data already done and a twin track approach would allow more creative work to be done with data under RDS. On the legal work stream it was noted that RDS has been already set up as a shell company and Company Objects agreed. Developments will be modular and conversations with PHS regarding its membership of RDS and how RDS can accommodate health data are ongoing. The update on the RSH referred to the work undertaken by the Task and Finish group which has been set up to engage with RSH, case studies / use cases from the RSH experience have been shared, and a partnership strategy is being drafted. It was noted that this is an opportunity to streamline processes and exploit synergies. Feedback had been received by the RSHs, but it was still not clear how RDS fits in with how RSHs currently work and whilst there is agreement on the principles of RDS, there is still some work to be done to better understand the work of RDS, what it is and how differs from the current RSH offering. It was noted that RDS and RSH were two very different but complementary services and that the investment from SG to support the partnership was to produce a ‘world class’ product. With the funding now being made available we can develop a clear TOM, by also drawing upon the talent pool across the country. It was noted that any help and feedback from the RSH would be appreciated and useful as a platform for future collaboration, both for both the short term and strategic. It was further noted that pre-Covid MP had met with the RSHs to work out how each RSH could collaborate and work together through collaborative discussion. It was agreed there needs to be clarity where the RSH could influence and where it can join in with RDS. The defined TOM would allow system building and contributions from each partner, a challenge over the next couple of months, but a need to look at people involved and structure.

Action six:

  • AM to discuss further with EJ

The IG paper was then introduced and a proposition on how it was going to work as developed by the IG sub-group.

Action seven:

  • AM to bring IG proposal to the next meeting

It was noted that the RSH were doing work into IG architecture, structures and technology and this work may offer insights into how the RSHs work

Action eight:

  • EJ to share the paper

The Finance and Comms papers were introduced and comment invited. It was noted that regarding Comms, at some point there would be a need to separation between the Engagement and Comms work streams. There will also plans for a more formal RDS launch next year. To support partner collaboration a Q&A and set of slides are available for partners to use.

AOB and next steps 

There was no other AOB. 

Date of next meeting and close 

16 December 14.00 – 15.30