One woman and two men wearing academic robes inside an ornate room. Man in centre of group holding a plaque

Swansea University Chancellor Dame Jean Thomas, Professor Ronan Lyons and Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Boyle following the ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Swansea University has been awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in recognition of the contribution for harnessing public data to improve population health and wellbeing through its world-renowned SAIL Databank based at Population Data Science

The Prize was presented to Swansea University Chancellor Dame Jean Thomas, Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Boyle and Professor Ronan Lyons by Her Majesty the Queen  and the Duchess of Gloucester at ceremony held at Buckingham Palace.

Healthcare professionals and data scientists are now able to carry out robust research using SAIL’s comprehensive data about the Welsh and UK population data. Sitting within the University’s Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Science, SAIL - Secure Anonymised Information Linkage Databank funded by Health and Care Research Wales and the ESRC - brings together, links and analyses data from multiple sources to deliver population-level insights for government and policymakers. 

First awarded in 1994, the Prizes are granted every two years and recognise outstanding work by UK colleges and universities which demonstrates excellence and innovation and delivers real benefit to the wider world.

This success follows on from the Prize being awarded to the SPECIFIC project in 2022 and sees the University joining a very small group of institutions to have won the award with consecutive submissions.

Professor Boyle said: “We are delighted that Swansea University has once again been awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize; the highest national honour in UK further and higher education and a true reflection of the outstanding research by our colleagues at SAIL.

“To win a second Prize – in successive submission rounds – is both a rare and remarkable achievement, which highlights the considerable public benefit of our world-class research and innovation activity.”

In the 15 years since SAIL was founded, its achievements include:

  • Providing wide-ranging Covid-19 research and fast-response, data driven policy intelligence for the Welsh and UK governments;
  • Performing as the national data linkage and access system for all public data in Wales, securely curating data from every sector and more than 500 organisations;
  • Providing data linkage and banking services for many global initiatives, including shared data from over 30 countries in support of the International Covid-19 Data Alliance initiative; and,
  • Enhancing the evidence base for policymakers which helps them to understand the relationships between their service provisions to improve people’s lives.

Professor Lyons, Co-director of Population Data Science and SAIL Databank, added: “This is an incredible honour and demonstrates the outstanding work of the entire SAIL team. Today has been a truly memorable day for us all. SAIL represents the essence of team science, fostering collaboration among academia, the NHS, public sector entities, and the wider community to address critical issues affecting both Welsh and global populations."

Professor David Ford, Co-director of Population Data Science and SAIL Databank, described the honour as a moment of great pride and validation for Population Data Science and all those associated with SAIL Databank.

He said: “The journey of SAIL, from its inception to being at the forefront of combatting the unprecedented challenge of Covid-19, is nothing short of remarkable.

“We are immensely proud that the tireless efforts of the team, alongside our extensive network of collaborators, have been acknowledged with this prestigious award. It is evidence to the power of teamwork and collective endeavour, and we share this pride and validation with every member of our team."


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