Swansea University awarded Queen’s Anniversary Prize for world leading databank

Swansea University has been awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in recognition of contribution to Population Data Science made by the expert team at its world-renowned SAIL Databank.

Healthcare professionals and data scientists are now able to carry out carry out robust research using SAIL’s comprehensive data about the Welsh and UK population data. Sitting within the University’s Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Science, SAIL – Secure Anonymised Information Linkage Databank – brings together, links and analyses data from multiple sources to deliver population-level insights for government and policy makers.

First awarded in 1994, the Prizes are granted every two years and recognise outstanding work by UK colleges and universities which demonstrates excellence and innovation and delivers real benefit to the wider world.

Following the official announcement of the winners at St James’s Palace, the Prizes will be presented at a formal ceremony in February next year.

Following on from its success in 2021 when the Prize was awarded to the SPECIFIC project, the University now joins a very small group of institutions to have won the award with consecutive submissions.

Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University Professor Paul Boyle said: “We are delighted that Swansea University has once again been awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize; the highest national Honour in UK further and higher education. This year’s accolade acknowledges the outstanding contribution of our SAIL Databank to the field data science, and recognises the significant impact of their work to support evidence-based policy-making.

“It was an honour for our University have won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2021. To win a second Prize this year – in successive submission rounds – is both a rare and remarkable achievement, which highlights the considerable public benefit of our world-class research and innovation activity.”

In the 15 years since SAIL was founded, its achievements include:

  • Providing wide-ranging Covid-19 research and fast-response, data driven policy intelligence for the Welsh and UK governments;
  • Performing as the national data linkage and access system for all public data in Wales, securely curating data from every sector and more than 500 organisations;
  • Providing data linkage and banking services for many global initiatives, including shared data from over 30 countries in support of the International Covid-19 Data Alliance initiative; and,
  • Enhancing the evidence base for policymakers which helps them to understand the relationships between their service provisions to improve people’s lives.

SAIL Databank co-director Professor David Ford said: “Since we established the SAIL Databank more than 15 years ago, we have worked with thousands of researchers and many hundreds of research projects.  We never imagined however that we would be called upon to play a part in tackling a global emergency on the scale of Covid-19.  We are therefore absolutely thrilled that the massive efforts of the SAIL team and a dedicated army of collaborators across the NHS, government and academia, have been recognised by this prize.”

Co-director Professor Ronan Lyons added: “I am delighted that the work of the fantastic SAIL team has been recognised in this award. SAIL is truly a team science endeavour in which academia, the NHS, many public sector organisations and members of the public collaborate to study many issues of importance to the Welsh and global populations.”