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Adolescent Data Platform

Research awardBrighter Futures

Funding period2018-2020

Lead institution Swansea University Medical School

Lead locationUnited Kingdom

The ADP aims to improve the speed and effectiveness of research into young people’s mental health with an unprecedented new resource for scientists and policy-makers. 

The project

Thousands of pieces of data are collected every day, whether that’s in schools, GP clinics or hospitals.

This data provides crucial insight into adolescent mental health and can help us tackle some of the major challenges young people face today.

But right now, it’s time-consuming and difficult for scientists and policy-makers to get the results they need. 

The Adolescent Data Platform will anonymously bring all this data together under one roof, preparing it so it’s easy to work with to speed up the research. 

The process

In total, billions of pieces of data will be included in the platform, ranging from administrative health, social and education data, to psychological and clinical data, as well as information from research studies. All held within the privacy protecting SAIL Databank at Swansea University Medical School.

Professor Ann John and her team of world-leading data scientists from the Farr Institute will spend the first year building the infrastructure, working with other researchers, securing data agreements, preparing and linking the data.  

The team will begin preliminary data analysis on available data within the first 12 months – and will be working with other researchers across the UK to grow the size of the platform, nations covered, and breadth and depth of data during that period. 

The potential

This is the biggest platform of its kind, addressing a significant gap in young people’s mental health research.

It also offers the opportunity to get scientists from different fields working together, breaking down silos and building a truly bio-psycho-social model to understand mental illness.

Ultimately, it will make it easier for researchers and policy-makers worldwide to use and learn from data, reducing the costs and time involved in mental health research and creating vast new potential insights. 

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