Funding for Health Data Linkage projects

Background information

The Centre for Health Record Linkage, hosted by the Cancer Institute NSW, is a collaborative venture funded by nine member organisations (ACT Health, the NSW Clinical Excellence Commission, the Cancer Institute NSW, NSW Department of Health, the Sax Institute, the University of Newcastle, the University of NSW, the University of Western Sydney and the University of Sydney).

The University’s annual membership to this collaborative venture has been met by contributions of various amounts from the University’s Cancer Research Fund (through the University of Sydney Cancer Research Network), and the Faculties of Medicine, Health Sciences, Nursing and Midwifery, Pharmacy and Dentistry.

Guide to health record linkage services

For more detailed information regarding CHeReL and information relating to its use, please refer to the CHeReL website for their latest version of the Guide to CHeReL services.

For information about the linked datasets available and the types of linkage services offered by CHeReL please refer to the CHeReL website.

CHeReL services available to the University of Sydney

Under the previous membership agreement the University was entitled to a quota of free linkage services. These were distributed to researchers through formal University funding rounds in 2007-2009. Please see below for the outcome of these funding rounds.

New terms and conditions apply for 2009-10.

From 1 July 2009 researchers are no longer required to formally apply to the University for funding. The University’s ongoing contribution to CHeReL will automatically contribute to the costs of any project that meets the following criteria:

  • The first Chief Investigator listed on the project is a paid employee of, or holds a current academic title of, or holds an honorary position with, the University of Sydney
  • Holders of an honorary position must also be a paid employee of an organisation or facility which has a formal research and/or teaching agreement with the University of Sydney
  • The CHeReL advises that linkage can be completed by 30 June 2013 and all necessary ethical approvals are obtained sufficiently early to make this completion date possible
  • The project accesses data in the CHeReL’s Master Linkage Key

The amount of the University contribution to each project is calculated by the CHeReL, is uncapped and will be shown as a credit against the total quoted cost of the project. It can vary from as little as $50 for a small cohort study up to more than $100,000 for population-based studies that make use of large numbers of records from administrative datasets in the Master Linkage Key. There are currently more than 29 million records from 12 different datasets in the Master Linkage Key. This resource is constantly expanding. Researchers are encouraged to contact the CHeReL to discuss their research proposals and seek advice on maximising opportunities for use of the University’s contribution.

The University’s contribution does not secure full funding for any project. A quote for the balance that is payable by researchers can be obtained from the CHeReL. As a guide the following cost information has been provided.

Minimum fees payable by researchers
Master Linkage Key extracts
An extract of 2 datasets will cost $4,000 ex GST. The cost increases by $900 for each additional dataset in the extract.
Master Linkage Key extracts offer the quickest and most cost-effective way to access large volumes of linked data. Data can be used for a wide range of purposes and study designs in epidemiology and health services research.

Linking Other Datasets
Other datasets can be linked together by the CHeReL or linked to datasets in the Master Linkage Key.

The minimum cost for these services is about $5,000-$7,000 ex GST. The cost payable by researchers is largely driven by the number of datasets to be linked, the size of the cohort and the extent of clerical review required for accurate data linkage. Formal quotes can be obtained from the CHeReL.

Step-by-step guide for researchers

The Centre for Health Record Linkage Data Linkage Service FLOWCHART AND CHECKLIST

This document provides information about when to make initial contact with CHeReL, when to request a quotation from CHeReL for the provision of the data linkage services you require, when to apply to the NSW Population & Health Service Research Ethics Committee (and your host institution) for ethics approval for your project. It also provides an estimate of the time required to complete the application process and obtain ethics approval.


As noted in the 'Information for applicants' a quotation (issued by the CHeReL) must accompany all applications for project funding. Researchers should contact the CHeReL directly to request a quotation for their proposed project. The CHeReL process a number of requests for quotations at any one time so researchers are advised to contact the CHeReL to discuss the feasibility of their projects at least 3-6 weeks prior to needing a quotation.

Contacting the Centre for Health Record Linkage

Level 1, Suite 9, Bay 9, Locomotive Street
Australian Technology Park, EVELEIGH NSW 2015
Tel: + 61 2 8374 3515
Fax: + 61 2 8374 3500

Mailing address
Centre for Health Record Linkage
Cancer Institute NSW

Outcomes of previous funding rounds

No formal funding rounds were held in 2010 but a small number of linkage credits from the previous membership period were allocated to projects.

Health Data Linkage applications that were successful in previous funding rounds:

Round 9 – 2 February 2010

  • Predictors of recurrence requiring repeat bowel resection in Crohn’s disease – A data linkage analysis of surgical, demographic, biochemical and pathological factorsK
    Kwok, M Soloman, J Young
  • International Comparison of Hospital Outcomes using ICD coding and risk standardisation (ICHOIR)
    M Gallagher, H Krumholz, B Harrison
  • Patterns of care study for treatment of cervical cancer in Australia and construction of a detailed model of invasive cervical cancer
    K Canfell, YJ Kang, D O'Connell

Round 8 – 29 May 2009

  • Comprehensive linkage of perinatal laboratory and health data for monitoring health outcomes and evaluating antenatal biomarkers for the detection of adverse pregnancy outcomes.
    C Roberts, N Nassar, JM Morris
  • Pap test screening rates, high grade cervical abnormalities and cervical cancer among women with an alcohol-related hospital admission in NSW
    BK Armstrong, A Kricker, L Burns

Round 6 – 30 November 2008

  • The long term prevalence of hospitalisation in frail older people (the Hospitalisation Study)
    ID Cameron and NM Monaghan
  • Cancer and chronic kidney disease – interaction or two chronic diseases
    AC Webster, G Wong and JC Craig

Round 5 – 29 August 2008

  • Pap test screening rates, high grade cervical abnormalities and cervical cancer among women with a substance use hospital admission in NSW
    A Kricker and L Burns

Round 3 – 29 February 2008

  • Incidence and prognosis of metastatic breast cancer in NSW
    SJ Lord and N Houssami
  • Cervical cancer screening behaviour in women born in Asian and Middle Eastern countries compared to Australian-born women: A linkage study in NSW
    K Canfell, B Armstrong, N Aminisani and F Sitas

Round 2 – 1 December 2007

  • Studies on endometriosis and the subsequent risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes.
    GM Hadfield, CL Roberts, SJ Lain and CH Raynes-Greenow
  • The health and health seeking behaviours of opiate dependent people in NSW 2002-2006
    G Rubin, J Bell, L Trinh and A Ryan

Round 1 - 31 October 2007

  • An examination of the quality and validity of mothers and babies coded data found in administrative datasets - through linking NSW Inpatient Statistics Collection (ISC) with Midwives Data Collection (MDC) and Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (RBDM)
    M Lam
  • Improving birth statistics in Australia through use of record linkage
    R Madden and H Mannan
  • A pilot study investigating the ability of maternal levels of Angiopoietin 2(Ang-2) in early pregnancy to predict adverse outcomes
    CL Roberts, V Tasevski, JM Morris, LK Taylor
  • The serious and continuing illness policy and practice study
    S Leeder, R Colagiuri, J Gillespie and S Jan
  • An analysis of the usefulness of the linked Central Cancer Registry - Admitted Patient Data Collection for examining patterns of care of people with prostate, lung and colorectal cancers
    BK Armstrong, DP Smith and DL O'Connell
  • Determining aged care trajectories in NSW: linking the 45 and up survey and aged care administrative data - pilot utilising hospital data
    HK Kendig, LJ Jorm and JB Byles
  • Temporal trends in the epidemiology of infective endocarditis in Australia
    R Sy and L Kritharides

Upcoming seminars

To be advised.

Further information

For further information regarding CHeReL membership entitlements for University of Sydney researchers please contact the CHeReL on (02) 8347 3515.