Health Informatics Centre

HIC Services supports high impact research through the collection and management of population based data.

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HIC Services and the Farr Institute
Second Floor
Level 7
University of Dundee
School of Medicine
Ninewells Hospital
Dundee DD1 9SY

Ninewells Campus
Group or department


The Health Informatics Centre (HIC), based within the School of Medicine at Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, The University of Dundee is an ISO27001 accredited, Scottish Government regional ‘Safe Haven’ or ‘Trusted Research Environment’(TRE). HIC have also successfully completed the essential DSPT assessment against the National Data Guardian’s 10 stringent data security standards.

This means that HIC facilitate, as trusted data custodians, the safe, efficient and governance managed use of de-identified health data on behalf of the NHS and Scottish Government for legitimate research use. HIC maintains, as a data processor, anonymised records for approximately 20% of the Scottish population, in particular the health boards of Tayside and Fife. This is providing ‘big-data’ scale expertise and technical compute systems for research alongside the development of tools for future use within the clinical systems and collaboration with industry partners. Our team are managing population data for over one million patient records extending back approximately 30 years.

These data are governed, curated and managed by HIC as a trusted partner to enable timely, secure researcher access to specified cohorts and data linkage. This has been implemented for the last 5 years by the use of a virtual and controlled environment under ISO27001 provisioned for researchers who have been through MRC based research governance training. HIC has operated throughout this period a "Five Safes" approach which is a core principal of HDR UK which HIC implements as an Alliance member:

  • Safe People: Technical skills to use the data; compliance training; confidentiality agreements
  • Safe Projects: Research appropriateness; ethical; will benefit public; research published
  • Safe Setting: Researcher only access; controlled virtual environment; no data distribution
  • Safe Outputs: Export of results controlled for publication; confidentiality maintained
  • Safe Data: Data within the controlled environment is de-identified

This research managed process is supported by HIC’s secure data and infrastructure team and governance manager with external support from the respective partner health boards and layperson representation.

HIC maintains a unique position in our adaptability to solve research questions and tackle problems at the forefront of data science. This is because the data custodianship is allied to a strong in-house software development and infrastructure team. In short, HIC combines secure data management/software development and academic research to tackle the development of data science applications for health, social care and associated data.

Visit Health Informatics CentreTRE and the Discovery Portal for more information.


Health Informatics Centre