Data Protection Regulation

Personal data – such as information collected by a doctor or hospital, or as part of a research study – is a vital resource for research that has the potential to improve and save lives. 

The new European Data Protection Regulation was agreed in April 2016 and will take effect from May 2018.

Our position

The regulation creates a supportive framework for scientific research, including safeguards to ensure personal information is used appropriately and remains secure. See our analysis of the key clauses [PDF 297KB]

During negotiations, the European Parliament proposed amendments to the regulation that would have imposed disproportionate limits on the use of health data. These would have had a devastating impact on research. We’re delighted that the regulation rejected these amendments.

Now, the research community and policy makers must work together on implementation to ensure the regulation fulfils its potential. Read how we think the regulation should be implemented by the UK government [PDF 506KB] and European member states.

What we’re doing

The new regulation leaves it up to European Union member states to put detailed rules in place to govern the use of personal data in research. 

As the regulation is implemented, we’ll work with the research community and policy makers to ensure a strong outcome for research. 

Timeline of key dates

Our timeline sets out the key dates for the agreement and implementation of the new regulation.


January 2012 

March 2012 

August 2012 


January 2013

February 2013 

May 2013 

September 2013 


January 2014 

March 2014 


June 2015 

July 2015 

December 2015


April 2016

May 2016


March 2017


May 2018

More information

Contact us

If you have any questions, contact Beth Thompson:


Data sharing

Sharing data helps researchers to access and build on new information and knowledge.

European Union

The European Union supports science through legislation, funding opportunities and programmes to help cross-border collaboration.

Influencing policy

Science policy affects a broad range of issues, ranging from data sharing and gene editing, to intellectual property and regulation.


Regulation creates an environment where research and innovation can flourish. 

Reports and consultations