Invitation to tender: Research in the field of data anonymisation and re-identification risk management

Wed Jun 20, 2018
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We are looking for an individual or organisation to perform background research in the field of data anonymisation, de-identification, and management of the risk of re-identification of individuals when sharing or working with data

20 June 2018
Tender reference: RDP8-001
Call for tenders by the Open Data Institute
Contact: [email protected]

Summary and timeline


The objective of this work is to create an overview of the landscape of regulation, actors, tools, techniques, processes and best practices related to the management of the risk of re-identification of individuals when working with, using, or publishing personal data or data derived from personal data.

The successful individual or company will work in collaboration with the Open Data Institute (ODI) who will provide guidance, review and assistance throughout, as well as a handover mechanism to the ODI team who will continue the research and build on this piece of work.


Given the evolution of regulation on managing personal and personally identifiable data, in a context where businesses want to open and share data but technology is making it easier than ever to re-identify seemingly anonymised data, there is a need to help organisations in both the public and private sector make potentially re-identifiable data more accessible in a way that protects citizens’ privacy, and increases the social and economic value created from that data.

As part of our innovation programme, the Open Data Institute is conducting research and development activities to help organisations reduce the risks of re-identification when sharing, opening or using data, by giving them tools and knowledge to recognise and mitigate those risks.

Our research aims to explore data and ways to broaden access while protecting privacy, maintaining trust and creating a strong, fair and sustainable market of services. It aims to empower organisations in the public and private sectors to make better decisions about how they use and share personal data and data derived from personal data, by providing them with learnings and elements of data infrastructure, such as best practices and open source technology.

We are looking for an individual or organisation, ideally with both expertise in the field and a proven research methodology to bring our research team up to speed by creating an overview of the literature available on the subject, tools and techniques considered state of the art, and experts or other actors of interest for the continuation of our research.


Public and private sector organisations involved in using, sharing and publishing personal data or data derived for personal data. The output of this work will be used mostly internally to inform subsequent research and development activities, and may be included or built upon in final deliverables.


The successful candidate will deliver through this project:

  • A literature review covering academic publications, public policy reports, and news and publications from the private sector, on the topics of the management of risk of re-identification when sharing, using or publishing data
  • An overview of the state of the art in the tools, techniques and processes used in reducing the risk of personal identification in data – including but not limited to anonymisation and pseudonymisation techniques
  • An overview of the landscape of actors in this field, in the United Kingdom as well as internationally, including pioneers of novel techniques and processes, and other experts.
  • Other deliverables, if deemed useful to meet the objectives of the project, may be included in your proposal.

All the above are expected to be delivered both as written material and as a half-day workshop, to be hosted at the ODI’s headquarters in London in the last week of the project (Week of 17th September 2018). Applicants should include cost of travel to the workshop in their total budget.

This invitation to tender does not prescribe the specific length or format of each written deliverable, but we request that your proposal suggest what approximate length you will intend for each. Our initial assumptions are that the literature review and state of the art review would both be documents ranging between 5 and 10 pages long, and that the landscape review would include a list to 20 to 30 key and interesting actors, with a reasonable balance between the UK and the rest of the world. We invite applicants to challenge those assumptions in their proposals.

The deliverables will inform subsequent research and prototyping conducted by the open data institute, and the successful candidate will be credited in future work built upon them.

The ODI favours working in the open. The successful candidate will be expected to conduct this work in this manner through blogging and speaking about their work. In practice, the successful candidate will be expected to write at least one blog post in the course of the project, as well as give a presentation of the final deliverables at an ODI Lunchtime Lecture or similar event – which may occur after the end of the project.


July to August/September (TBC) 2018

Value of award (excl. VAT)

Up to £5,000

Questions to ODI by

Friday 29 June

ODI responses by

Tuesday 3 July 2018 at noon BST

Costed proposals due by

Tuesday 10 July 2018 at noon BST

Tender decision by

Thursday 12 July 2018

Contract awarded

Week of 16 July 2018

ODI brief winning applicant(s)

Week of 16 July 2018

ODI progress reviews


Final work delivered by

Week of 17th September 2018

Tender reference:



[email protected]

Terms of payment

50% of the agreed value of the award will be paid in August 2018 and the remaining 50% will be paid upon completion of the work, including satisfactory responses to all feedback from the ODI.

Form of tender response

Interested parties should submit a costed proposal (in English) to [email protected]  which includes:

    • the tender reference in the email subject line
    • a short (no more than 2 pages) explanation of your proposed approach (eg methodology, scope), including why you are well-placed to do the work
    • a description of the team who will do the work, including bios in addition
    • the costing should be at activity level, but feel free to provide more detail
    • a writing sample of a similar literature review, research report or impact study

If you have any questions about the tender, please contact [email protected] quoting the tender reference. The ODI reserves the right to make both anonymised questions and answers public or shared with other organisations having stated their interest.

Decision criteria

All proposals will be assessed as described in our public procurement policy. In addition, for this procurement we will be looking for:

  • Evidence of expertise in the field.
  • Evidence of experience conducting and synthesising research.
  • Evidence of a suitable process and methodology.
  • Ability to communicate well in written form; we ask that you include an example of your writing.

Other criteria not considered essential for the delivery of this work, but seen as differentiating between equivalent proposals, include:

  • Evidence of experience working transparently and collaboratively
  • Public speaking experience or similar evidence of ability to communicate well to an audience of experts and non-experts alike