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Information for Researchers

  • Requesting Access to NICOLA Data or Biological Samples

    We aim to encourage and facilitate data access with all ‘bona fide’ researchers and research organisations as defined by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) ( and welcome proposals from researchers, either for collaborative projects or for other forms of data access in order to help advance research knowledge.

    Researchers are required to take the following steps in order to access NICOLA data and/or biological samples.

    1. Please read the NICOLA 'Data Access Policy' and 'Sample Access Policy' which describes in detail the general processes and procedures involved in accessing the NICOLA data and sample resource

    2. You may find it useful to browse the list of research proposals (listed below) that have been approved by the Data Access Committee since 2017

    3. Please download a copy of the 'Research Proposal Form'. For multiple projects individual forms must be submitted; one per project.  Please click here to obtain a summary of topics from Waves 1 and 2.

    Data dictionaries are also available which provide details of all the variables that are currently available from Waves 1 and 2. Please click on the following links to access the relevant data dictionary:

    WAVE 1 DATA DICTIONARIES: Computer assisted personal interview (CAPI); Self-completion questionnaire (SCQ); Health assessment (HA) & Biochemical BiomarkersMolecular biomarkers (including derived markers); Dietary data


    LINKED DATA DICTIONARIES: Northern Ireland Cancer Registry data

    4. Please complete the checklist and submit with all completed documentation to  All research proposals will be considered by the NICOLA Data Access Committee who meet every other month.  Please click here for the dates of the Data Access Committee meetings and deadlines for submitting research proposals. You should expect to receive a response regarding the outcome of your proposal to advise you whether or not your proposal has been approved.

    5. Any amendments or revisions to a proposal (after it has been approved) should be addressed using the 'NICOLA Research Proposal Amendment Form'.  This form should be submitted to  A typical amendment could include any of the following:

    • Change to the researchers accessing the data, additional researchers being added to the proposal
    • Change in institution/affiliation
    • Any additional data required
    • Change in funding source

    Any queries regarding eligibility for requesting access to data or biological samples should be directed to the NICOLA Research Support Team (RST) @  prior to submitting your research proposal form.

    Please note that at present, the NICOLA data is accessed via the ‘safe setting’ located within the Centre for Public Health, Queen’s University Belfast. Remote access can be facilitated via our secure server. NICOLA data can also be accessed via the UK Longitudinal Linkage Collaboration (UK LLC) and the UK Data Service (UKDS) websites and will soon be available on the Dementias Platform UK (DPUK) and Gateway to Global Ageing


  • Research Proposals Approved

    The following 'link' provides a list of research proposals approved by the NICOLA Data Access Committee since 2017.  This may be a useful resource for planning your own research topic or for collaborating with other researchers working in a similar area of research.

  • NICOLA Related Publications and Outputs
  • Publishing / Presenting your NICOLA Research

    A copy of all research outputs (e.g. full papers, reports, policy documents, PhD theses (NICOLA related chapters), media contributions) along with a completed NICOLA publications checklist must be sent to the NICOLA Research Support Team ( for approval, at least 28 days prior to journal submission.  This includes any research output being placed in the public domain (for example working papers or non-peer reviewed papers).  Conference abstracts do not have to be submitted prior to the conference but must be sent to the Research Support Team prior to being published in conference proceedings or journals.  All research outputs will be read to check participant confidentiality is protected and to ensure that it will not bring the study into disrepute.  Please 'click here' for an acknowledgments slide which can be used in oral or poster presentations that use the NICOLA data.