Coordinator: Maurice Brandt

Main objectives: to study the feasibility of setting up a network of Safe Centres that enables access to confidential microdata sets for research purposes throughout EU countries.

  • to set up procedures and technical solutions for sharing microdata sets amongst Safe Centres
    • Access to EU microdata sets stored in the Safe Centre (on site)
    • Access to EU microdata sets stored in a Safe Centre through another national Safe Centre
  • to develop the methodology, guidelines and requirements that are compatible with the current legal frameworks and practices with respect to the handling of confidential data in the European Statistical System (ESS).
  • to support/guide NSIs to set up and to adapt their infrastructure in order to comply with minimum requirements for hosting European microdata sets.


Work packages:

Task 1: Shortlist of the possibilities of the structure and architecture of a European network  

1) A matrix defined by possible candidate architectures (i.e. types connection between nodes) and the list of all technical, legal, organisational and financial issues to score each possible architecture. From this matrix a shortlist on the most favoured solutions will be identified to focus on in task 2. The report describing such output will be delivered at the end of month two of the project.

Task 2: Elaboration of pros and cons of the solutions on the shortlist  

2) A fully filled out matrix in which all solutions on the shortlist shall be described and judged on all the defined aspects.
3) A recommendation on the best approach to actually implement the network.

Task 3: Guideline for safe centres  

4) A certification system to appraise national safe centres to evaluate whether or not they are able to host EU microdata sets.

Task 4: Evaluation of assignability of general rules of output checking to the ECHP data  

5) A report, stating the applicability of the general guidelines developed in the separate project on guidelines on output checking based on the ECHP data. If applicable, the report will also contain the necessary adaptations of the general guidelines to make them applicable to the scenario’s described in task 2.

Task 5: Documentation for researchers to use EU microdata through a safe centre

6) A documentation and metadata for the researcher.
7) Also a standardised form to access EU microdata.

Task 6: Feasibility and cost analysis

8) Cost analysis for each solution on the shortlist for the future implementation of the different possibilities.

Task 7: Information and involvement to non-participating NSI’s  

9) Information of non-participating MS in a session about the decentralised access to EU microdata within the UNECE conference. Presentation of (intermediate) results of the project.
10) A website as a platform where information on the topic of safe centre can be shared between all MS.

Task 8: Management of the project, organisational and administrative aspects.

Expected results of the action
The expected result of the action is the proving of the feasibility of getting access to EU microdata in a safe centre of a MS.