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The University of Southampton
Web Science Institute

Social Data Foundation in Health & Social Care

Future sustainability and performance of health and social care will be achieved through progressive digitisation of organisations, business processes, social communities, and individuals. Digitisation will create new ways to deliver public health, clinical diagnostics, self-health management and prevention, and operations management through a rich ecosystem of connected institutions, people, devices, and data. Collaborative sharing and linking of safe, useful data between different stakeholders under secure and rights-respecting conditions will be vital for development of data-driven health systems and advances in artificial intelligence (AI) for health applications.

The Social Data Foundation ( is a partnership between Southampton City Council, the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, and the University of Southampton that has been established to improve public health and patient care by responsible data access, collaboration and (re-)usage across academia, the public sector and industry by removing barriers and accelerating existing processes whilst maintaining the highest standards for data governance and security. Legal, ethical, and social mechanisms must be brought together was the means to establish a trustworthy data sharing environment that delivers system transformation and public and patient benefit.

This theme therefore invites research proposals which investigate novel socio-technical mechanisms for accelerating the governance of health and social care data. In particular we welcome research aiming to explore:

  1. Automated risk management mechanisms supporting proactive identification and management of risks and breaches related to the deliberate or unintentional leakage or misuse of data across data lifecycles and AI pipelines.
  2. Ownership and rights management mechanisms support tracking of provenance and enforcement of consent, contractual arrangements/agreements, and licenses in AI pipelines.
  3. Dynamic orchestration mechanisms for provision of functional anonymisation environments considering the discovery, configuration and management of data services and security/privacy controls in hosting environments.
  4. Dynamic data linking protocols between distributed health-related datasets including those providing wider social determinants of health (e.g., digital health platforms, social media, and environment) with electronic health care records.
  5. Online engagement and involvement mechanisms for maintaining a social license and involving communities in the co-design, implementation, and evaluation of digital health solutions, and those provided by NHS providers themselves.

Theme Lead

Professor Michael Boniface


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