What does this privacy notice cover?
This privacy notice covers how, why and with whom the Research Office (including the Graduate School) will collect, store, use and share your data. We will be fair and transparent in how we process your data.
What does it not cover?
It does not deal with how other parts of the University handle and share your data, nor does it explicitly cover data automatically collected when you use online platforms (e.g. social media) because the collection and processing of such data falls outside the remit and scope of the Research Office. If you have questions on how such data is used by Edge Hill, please contact IT Services or refer to the University’s IT policies and other institutional policies. If you have questions about how such data is used by platform providers (e.g. Facebook) please contact those organisations directly.
Furthermore, this privacy notice does not deal with data collected as part of research projects.
Who to contact?
Collecting your data
In some cases, we will receive your data directly from you – for example when you complete a form, or contact us by e-mail. In other cases, your data will be shared with us by other data processors at the University (e.g. Human Resources, Academic Registry, Finance), or by another organisation (e.g. HESA, HEFCE, other universities).
Our staff and associates are bound by obligations of confidentiality and trained in the protection of personal data. We will take all reasonable steps to comply with legislation and use appropriate technical and organisational measures necessary to safeguard your personal data. Personal data may be transferred to third parties who carry out further processing on our behalf in accordance with the purpose(s) for which the data was originally collected or may otherwise be lawfully processed.
Processing your data
We may process your data to perform duties on behalf of the University for the following purposes:
- Internal funding applications and post-award management
- External funding applications and post-award management.
- Travel on behalf of the University, where funded by internal or external funding
- Statistical returns including, but not limited to:
- Statutory returns to Higher Education Statistics Authority (HESA);
- the University’s public sector equality duties (inc. Athena SWAN);
- Research Excellence Framework (REF) submissions.
- Details of your research activity and plans e.g. ethics, impact, collaborators.
- Research publication profiles and open access compliance
- Applications or enquiries to study for a research degree
- Changes to your research degree registration including:
- Mode of study
- Suspension of studies (intercalation) or extension to deadline as part of your research degree. Medical or other sensitive information necessary to approve these
- Withdrawal from your research degree
- Tuition fees status e.g. studentships, writing-up fees and assessment fees.
Other purposes could arise on a case-by-case basis.
Storing your data
We aim to keep identifiable personal information for as short a time as is practical for carrying out our duties. Many of our departmental retention periods are in keeping with institutional standards, while others reflect best practice.
The Research Office aims for paperless administration, so most data we collect will be processed and stored in a secure digital format. Data is normally held on one or more of:
- The network drives (Y: drive) accessible only to staff within the Research Office or other Edge Hill data processors where required. Access is granted to the latter only with our approval.
- OneDrive, provided by the University, allowing individuals to share information with specific other Edge Hill data processors where required.
- JISC Online Surveys, Microsoft Forms, or similar secure services where you have completed one of our online forms.
- Individual staff e-mail accounts, or departmental e-mail accounts to which all Research Office staff have access. Your data will not be sent or stored using personal e-mail accounts.
- We may sometimes transport digital data using either a password protected, encrypted mobile device or laptop provided by the University, or an encrypted flash drive.
Hard copy formats might include:
- Claim forms
- Application paperwork
- Committee papers
Where we need to retain a copy of data received in hard copy, it will normally be digitised. We will then i) pass the original to the relevant other Edge Hill data processors (e.g. HR or Finance), or ii) securely destroy the hard copy through the University’s standard confidential waste management procedures.
Staff in the Research Office may remotely access data stored digitally, as outlined above, e.g. over a secure internet connection using a secure device in accordance with the University’s Acceptable Use Policy. In such cases, we handle your information as though we were accessing or transporting it on campus. Any local digital copies made during remote access (where unavoidable) will be immediately deleted upon completion of the task.
Sharing your data
We will only ever share your data where there is an operational need. For example:
- Human Resources for the purpose of processing casual claim forms, and staff on research projects paid from the Research Office budget
- Finance for the purpose of expenses and visiting lecturer and associate tutor claims
- Academic Registry for the purpose of administering student records and fees
- Academic staff and/or departments to enable progress monitoring
- Edge Hill committees for purposes such as monitoring research activity at the University or research degree student progress
- External funding bodies where you are applying for funding, and where we are required to report on funding
- Other universities with whom you are collaborating on research, and who require information on your salary costs to the project in their capacity as lead institution
- Other bodies such as the Higher Education Academy which runs the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey
Not all data we share is identifiable. For example, we may report overall volume of applications to, or outcomes from, a funding scheme.
If responses to anonymous surveys could result in re-identification, steps will be taken to avoid this. There will be a threshold of responses below which data will not be reported against identifiable criteria (e.g. reports on responses from the Postgraduate Research Experience Survey will not include anything where fewer than five PhD students from a single department responded, and response data will be normally be rounded to the nearest five).