Data Access | NB Institute for Research, Data and Training (NB-IRDT) | UNB

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Requesting access to data

Before you begin

Establish your research question. Upon doing so, consult our data holdings to determine if the data in our custody might inform your research. Review the following information to establish your research questions:

  • Data set name
  • Years available
  • Data set description
  • Codebook for variable description and codes
  • Variable list; if codebook is not available

Qualifying projects may receive up to 15 hours of research consultation services through the Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit.

Frequently asked questions

How to request access to data

Review the step-by-step illustration of the NB-IRDT data access process

  1. Feasibility and quote
  2. Data Access Request
  3. Data Access Request reviews
  4. Administrative safeguards
  5. Research Ethics Board & final privacy review
  6. Data Access Agreement
  7. Access to data

1. Feasibility and quote

Initially, only section one of the Data Access Request (DAR) needs to be completed and submitted to NB-IRDT. We will review the project information, found within section one, to determine if it is a feasible project for NB-IRDT to assist with. After feasibility has been determined you will be provided with feasibility feedback. This process normally takes approximately 10 business days.

Data Access Request

Feasibility requests are to be sent via e-mail, to

At this time, our research and evaluation manager may reach out to schedule a meeting with you to evaluate your research service needs and provide a quote.

2. Data Access Request

Once feasibility has been approved, you will be invited to complete the remaining sections of the Data Access Request (DAR).

The DAR is divided into four sections:

Section one – Project information & feasibility

Include project information such as: the project title, name and information about the Principal Investigator (PI), funding source, the intended output, external data to be imported, project summary, research questions, methodology, geocoding, etc.

This section will have already been completed during the feasibility stage of the project approval process.

Section two – Users of the NB-IRDT secure facility

List all individuals who will be requiring access to the data, in the custody of NB-IRDT, in order to complete the research project.

Section three – Requested data sets

Include all NB-IRDT data sets and imported data sets that you would like in order to complete the research project. Remember to indicate the years of data that are needed. We require year, month and day when requesting data sets. Be sure to use proper data set titles and codes as found on our Data Holdings page.

Section four – Requested variables 

Include a full list of variables that you need for each requested data set, with rationale for each. This includes NB-IRDT data as well as any additional data sets you are intending to add to the project folder within our Secure Research Environment (SRE).

3. Data Access Request reviews

Once the fully completed DAR is received, a series of reviews must take place:

Institute review meeting

This meeting is an opportunity for the NB-IRDT team to meet with you to discuss project methodology, data sets, variables chosen, etc. and to prepare the DAR for the Data and Research Committee (DRC) review.

A standing meeting time is reserved each week for the institute reviews to take place. Our data access coordinator will work with you to schedule attendance at the next available meeting, either in person, via teleconference or online.

Data and Research Committee meeting

The purpose of this meeting is to give data business owners the opportunity to understand how their data will be used and to allow the project’s PI to ask questions and receive feedback about the data sets and data variables. If changes to the DAR are suggested, there will be an opportunity to make them before proceeding to the next project approval step. 

The DRC is made up of data business owners (as identified by the requested data sets on the DAR) and various NB-IRDT staff. A standing meeting time is reserved each month for DRC. Our data access coordinator will work with you to schedule attendance at the next available meeting, either in person, via teleconference, or online.

4. Administrative safeguards

All individuals listed within section two of a DAR must complete our mandatory administrative safeguards before they are granted access to project data or our NB-IRDT Secure Research Environment. These necessary safeguards help protect the data in our custody and ensure compliance with privacy legislation and our internal policies.

Once the institute review and the DRC review have been completed, the data access coordinator will reach out to the members of your research team to provide instructions on how to complete the administrative safeguards. They are as follows:

Criminal record check

A criminal record check must be submitted prior to entry into our secure facility. We suggest requesting a criminal record check from your local police station (or RCMP) in the early stages of the DAR process as it may take a few weeks to obtain. We accept an original, photocopied, or scanned & emailed version of your criminal record check. However, we do not accept criminal record checks more than one year old.

If you require a letter from us when requesting the completion of your criminal record check, please email

Privacy training

Our online privacy training sessions are presented specifically on accessing and using administrative data for research and program evaluation work (i.e. secondary use). Please e-mail to request the privacy training link. Note: Training takes approximately one hour.

Upon completion, the data access coordinator will send:

  • a confidentiality agreement, and
  • an approved user form.

These two documents must be read, signed, and returned to

Note - Our privacy training session must be completed on an annual basis for the duration of your research project.

Security training & orientation

All first-time users, those who have never before accessed our NB-IRDT Secure Research Environment, are required to complete a one-hour NB-IRDT security training and orientation session.

To arrange for training please e-mail:  

5. Research Ethics Board & final privacy review

Research Ethics Board (REB) review

All research projects, using administrative data in the custody of NB-IRDT, must be approved by REB. After the institute review and the DRC review have taken place, the data access coordinator will invite the PI to prepare their REB application (to be e-mailed to:

For more information and to access the required forms, please visit:

Once REB approval is obtained the PI must forward the approval to Confirmation of REB approval is required before to the final stages of the project approval process can take place.

Final privacy review

Our privacy officer will complete one last final privacy compliance review before the Data Access Request and draft Data Access Agreement (DAA) are sent to UNB's Office of Research Services for signature.

6. Data Access Agreement

After all the reviews have taken place and the administrative safeguards have been verified, the data access coordinator prepares a draft Data Access Agreement (DAA) to be signed by UNB’s Vice President (Research) and the PI for the project.

Once the DAA is signed a welcome package is sent to the PI. We will prepare the project folders, as per the DAR, and notify the PI when it is ready to be accessed by those who have completed all the Administrative Safeguard Requirements.

7. Access to data

To gain access to the data within our Secure Research Environment, a pass card and PIN is required. Once the DAA has been signed, each member of the research team (those listed on the DAR) should request their pass cards and PIN by e-mailing:

 Reminder: Only those who have completed all their administrative safeguards will be granted access to the data and the Secure Research Environment.

 All questions throughout the DAR process can be addressed to