Category: Miscellaneous

eCRUSADers: one year on

I still can’t quite believe that it has been one year to the day since I launched the eCRUSADers website with the first Welcome post.! For those of you who don’t know, before launching the platform, I had been contemplating the idea of eCRUSADers for some time whilst reflecting the challenges I faced when attempting to carry out my PhD research using administrative data. I’d also had many conversations with other researchers who seemed to be in the same boat. When I started my new post-doc position in Edinburgh, I jumped straight into the ‘waiting for data’ pool again. It was really this that spurred me on to finally set up something tangible. It would be a place for other researchers to go to learn from the experiences of others and to find out useful nuggets of information. A huge amount has happened since then and little did I know back in February that the impending pandemic would shine such a bright light on the use of administrative data for research purposes. In the last six months, countless COVID-19 studies using administrative health data have emerged, hopefully paving the way for the continued use of this data to generate public benefit.
What has been achieved?
  • 4 Researcher Experience posts
  • 3 People Make Data posts
  • 3 Other posts
  • 2 Reflections on courses/training/conferences
  • 44 subscribers
  • Approximately 2,400 page views
  • £1,000 funding from the Welcome Trust Institutional translational partnership award (iTPA) Hub to set up an eCRUSADers working group.
  • Invited to give a presentation to the Electronic Data Research and Innovation Service (eDRIS) at their Development Day and have an ongoing dialogue with them about eCRUSADers.
  • Statement of support from the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research (SCADR) and Chief Statistician Roger Halliday.
Since the platform was launched in November 2019, I’ve published a combination of Researcher Experience posts, People Make Data posts, reflections from courses and conferences and other bits and pieces. It hasn’t always been easy to squeeze in time for eCRUSADers alongside my role within the Edinburgh Health Economics group but I have done my best to spread the word and get researchers from around Scotland to contribute. This could easily be a full time job! Overall, I am pleased with the progress to date and have thoroughly enjoyed progressing a platform that I believe will be so useful for future early career researchers.
What happened that I didn’t expect? Aside from COVID-19, when I set up eCRUSADers I hadn’t planned the People Make Data series. The idea for the series came about as I started trying to paint a picture of the administrative data landscape in Scotland and naturally that involved including patients and the public in that picture. That process helped me reflect on my own practice as a researcher and recognise the invaluable contribution that patients and the public have in shaping research. I think eCRUSADers provides a great place to share that message and point researchers towards useful information and resources regarding public and patient involvement.
What is still to do? My ambitions for eCRUSADers are big and I have lots of ideas in the pipeline for expanding the information that is contained within the platform! I plan to keep chipping away at this and look forward to what next year will bring. I still have to use the funds from the iTPA Hub. I had planned to arrange a number of face to face meetings and an event to formalise an eCRUSADers working group but COVID-19 has unfortunately put that on hold. But watch this space! Finally, I’m always looking to expand the number of Researcher Experience posts so if you are a researcher working with Scottish Administrative data then please do get in touch (
Thank you! I just wanted to say a huge thank you to all of the contributors to the blog through the last year and thank you to everyone who has shared, subscribed and followed the work eCRUSADers. Here’s to another year and to the future sharing of information and experiences about carrying out research using Scottish administrative data!


Welcome fellow Early Career Researchers Using Scottish Administrative Data- now known as eCRUSADers! For this first post, I thought I would briefly introduce myself before telling you more about what this blog is all about. My name is Elizabeth Lemmon, I am a Research Fellow working at the University of Edinburgh. I've set up the eCRUSADers blog on the back of numerous conversations I have had over the years with fellow researchers and colleagues which have all pointed to the need for a sharing of information and discussion about working with Scottish administrative data. I manage the eCRUSADers blog, alongside Matthew Iveson, Senior Data Scientist at the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology, also within the University of Edinburgh. 

Is this blog going to be of interest to me? 

Answer the following questions: 
  • Do you work with or want to work with administrative data (Scottish or otherwise)?
  • Do you want to hear about interesting research that is going on (in Scotland and further afield) which uses administrative data?
  • Are you interested in possible training opportunities for working with sensitive and complicated administrative data sets?
If you've said yes to any of those, keep on reading!

Why is there a need for the eCRUSADers blog?

Currently, Scotland is in a unique position to produce population level research due to the way it routinely collects information about Scots across a number of key domains – health, education, social care etc. Additionally, these data sets can be linked together, creating an invaluable source of information to carry out social research, which could ultimately have a positive impact on the lives of people living in Scotland and further afield. However, navigating the administrative data landscape is complex, working with administrative data is tricky, and the resources with which to carry out these tasks are scarce. These issues are particularly challenging for Early Career Researchers (ECRs) who have limited time and often knowledge about how to traverse this landscape. The eCRUSADers blog will provide somewhere for them to start.

The purpose of the eCRUSADers blog?

The purpose of the eCRUSADers blog is three-fold:
  • To provide a platform for the sharing of information and experiences
  • To enhance our understanding of what is working and where there is room for improvement
  • To encourage discussion around what can be done to keep Scotland on the trajectory of becoming a world leader in research using administrative data
Blog posts will consist of researcher experience posts; discussions of academic articles of interest (from Scotland and beyond); discussions of relevant training/resources; round ups; contributions from non-ECRs working with or with an interest in Scotland's administrative records; and anything else of eCRUSADers interest that crops up.  Overall, the blog will provide a place for ECRs to go if they are thinking about working with Scottish administrative records and want to learn from the experiences of others. At the same time, you don't even have to be an ECR! The eCRUSADers content is of relevance to anyone apply to or working with administrative data in Scotland. What is more, the lessons learned in Scotland should also translate over to other jurisdictions, meaning that even if you aren't working specifically with Scottish data, you can most likely still benefit from the eCRUSADers content!  As with any newly established blog, we plan to allow the blog to grow organically depending on changes occurring on the administrative data front and on the type of content ECR's provide and want to see.

Who can I contact to find out more? 

If you want to find out more or contribute to the blog we would be very happy to hear from you. Please get in touch by sending an email to or get in touch with Elizabeth at You can also sign up to receive notifications of new eCRUSADers content by hitting subscribe at the bottom of this page!