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The SafePod Network (SPN) is a new investment from the Economic and Social Research Council, which is part of UK Research and Innovation, to provide an independent network of safe settings (known as SafePods) that will provide the secure facilities and services for researchers to remotely access datasets from participating Data Centres across the UK.

What is a SafePod?

A SafePod is a small, prefabricated structure that is designed to replicate a traditional safe setting and includes security features such as a door control access system, CCTV camera, and secure storage areas for IT hardware and equipment.

The SafePod does not hold any datasets itself. Instead, the SafePod allows researchers to use the secure connection between a Data Centre and the SafePod to access and analyse the datasets remotely.

Our SafePod is part of the SPN comprising of:

  • A network of SafePods based within higher education institutions and other UKRI funded organisations;
  • A web application to provide information about the SPN and booking of SafePods;
  • Policies, procedures and assurances for the operation and management of SafePods;
  • An IT service to provide secure access to research datasets;
  • A CCTV service to enable Data Centres to view and monitor activity within a SafePod;
  • A dedicated User Support Service to assist stakeholders with SPN enquiries;
  • An Advisory Board to plan and make decisions on the long term objectives of the SPN.

The major benefit of the SafePod is that researchers will be able to remotely access sensitive/confidential datasets in a safe local setting, eliminating the need for long distance travel to a dedicated safe setting provided by a Data Centre.

For an overview of the data available through the SafePod network and the processes for applying, please see the following webinars: Introduction to the SafePod Network and Accessing Administrative and Sensitive Datasets through SafePods.

The SPN was launched at the end of summer 2021, and currently datasets available from the following Data Centres can be accessed securely through the SPN:

How to book a SafePod session?

The University of Exeter's SafePod is located in Haighton Library on St Luke's campus in Exeter, and is available for bookings on weekdays, excluding public holidays and University closure days.

The Exeter SafePod can be booked through the SPN website at

Further Information

If you would like to find out more about the experience of using a SafePod, a UK Data Service Data Impact Fellow has written a 3-part blog on her experiences of using the SafePod Network to access UK Data Service data for her PhD research:

For general information about the University of Exeter's SafePod, please contact

For more information about the SafePod Network please visit

SafePod is a registered trademark of the University of St Andrews.