Further details

Sections: Timescales  |  Applicable charges  |  Data formats  |  Data protection and standards  |  Conditions

Information on the data fields available can be found on our Data Stream section and requests for an individualised dataset can be made here.


Timescales Back to top

Free requests can be undertaken when a specification has been agreed and can then usually be processed within a couple of days. We will begin the process of extracting and quality assuring chargeable bespoke data once we are in receipt of a copy of the signed schedule.

The turnaround time for a bespoke data request varies from 1 day to up to 5 weeks depending on the size, complexity and legal constraints of the data requested; if possible and depending on the current workload, we will endeavour to match our timescale to meet your schedule. Typically, a free request can be turned around in two days and a paid enquiry in two weeks from the agreement of the specification.

Please note that timescales can vary depending on current workload.  As soon as your data has been extracted and quality assured, we will send you a secure download link via email with instructions explaining how to download and save it. 


Applicable charges Back to top

Data provided through the HESA Bespoke data service may be subject to a charge. The actual charge will depend upon the size and complexity of the data enquiry, and the format in which it is supplied.

Data enquiries which contain only a few figures and take approximately an hour to process can usually be undertaken free of charge. This should be confirmed with a member of the bespoke team.

The minimum charge for a paid enquiry is £150.00 + VAT 

Members of HE institutions are eligible for a 20% discount, and there is a 50% discount available for data supporting academic research. For details see our conditions for supply of data to academic researchers in the Conditions section.

We also have discounts available for students undertaking dissertations. Discounts must be confirmed with a member of the Information Services team.


Data formats Back to top

Data can be provided in a number of formats depending on the size of the dataset and the needs of your analysis. The standard formats are as follows:

  • Microsoft® Excel Spread sheet (versions 2003 - 2013) 
  • Microsoft® Excel Pivot Table (versions 2003 -2013) 
  • Tab-delimited ASCII text file format 
  • Comma-delimited ASCII text file format 

All chargeable datasets include a custom definitions file explaining the fields, population sizes, restrictions and time series.

For an introduction on how to use a Microsoft® Excel Pivot Table, please click here.


Data protection and standards Back to top

HESA can provide anonymous individualised data for analysis, under contract, as well as aggregated sensitive data such as disability and ethnicity. If you would like further information on the more detailed datasets we can offer please contact a member of the Information Services team.

For further information on our data protection policy, ISO data standards or our position regarding FOI requests please see the Overview section. Answers to common data protection and FOI requests are available here.


Conditions Back to top

In order to receive bespoke data from HESA you must be able to comply with the Agreement for the Supply of Information Services. This agreement incorporates conditions which enable us to fulfill our obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998.

Conditions for supply of data to academic researchers

Since August 1999, academic researchers, who previously obtained data through SRHE, may apply directly to HESA Services Ltd. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of HESA). A fee will be charged for significant data requirements, but Academic Researchers are eligible for a 50% discount over standard charging rates. To qualify for this discount you must satisfy HESA Services Ltd that the following criteria have been met:

  1. You must be working for/ affiliated to a recognised research organisation or a HE institution subscribing to HESA.
  2. You must utilise the data supplied by HESA for the sole purpose of ‘research and experimental development’ as defined within the Frascati Manual 2002 (a summary of this can be found below).

You will be required to forward a copy of the research proposal document to HESA Services Ltd. upon application for data.

The 'Permitted Purposes' in the data supply agreement describe the conditions that apply to using the data. Conditions that apply specifically to academic research include:

  • The Deliverables may be used by the Client for Academic research in respect of the following research project [name of the project]. In this Agreement "academic research" has the meaning given to the term by the OECD Frascati Manual.
  • The Deliverables may not be used for the purposes of teaching, HE provider planning or promotion purposes.
  • The Client is permitted to reproduce information derived from the Deliverables or reference the Deliverables within research papers or reports relating to the [insert name of project] provided that the data is rounded in compliance with HESA Services Rounding Strategy. Permission is hereby given for such papers or reports to be:
    • Published in [specified title of journal/other publication/book format]; and/or
    • Shared with [specified third party/parties, e.g. research institute/foundation]
    • Save for the permission given in this specific sub-condition, the Deliverables may not be published or shared with any third parties for any purpose.
    • A summary of how the Deliverables were used and the outcome of the research must be sent to HESA Services Ltd as soon as reasonably practicable after completion of the Research. The summary may be published on the HESA website.

Research and experimental development (R&D) comprise creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications.

The term R&D covers three activities: basic research, applied research and experimental development.

It does not include, unless carried out solely or primarily for the purposes of an R&D project:

  • Education and training (unless in pursuit of a doctorate level qualification)
  • General scientific and technological activities  (including feasibility studies, patent and license work, policy related studies and software development) 
  • Production and industrial activities
  • Administration and supporting activities

The basic criterion for distinguishing R&D from related activities is the presence in R&D of an appreciable element of novelty and [pursuing] the resolution of scientific and/or technological uncertainty, i.e. when the solution to a problem is not readily apparent to someone familiar with the basic stock of common knowledge and techniques for the area concerned.


Sections: Timescales  |  Applicable chargesData formats  |  Data protection and standards  |  Conditions  |  Back to top