HAT for Researchers

The digital economy is changing. What is possible with a data exchange that preserves individual privacy?

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What is the HAT

The HAT is a new framework for the digital economy. It allows businesses and consumers to transact personal information, like social media, health and location data, using transparent data contracts and private data containers. HAT-enabled companies store their customers' data on the customer side, rather than in centrally-owned databases, asking their customers to transact openly and collaboratively about what they are paying in data in return for products and services.


The HAT was developed through more than £3m RCUK Digital Economy-funded projects involving six universities: Cambridge, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Surrey, Warwick, and UWE. The HAT platform enables individuals to collect their own personal data, and it gives them the power to control and combine it into data 'mash-ups'. This data can be shared in a privacy-preserving manner, even without identifiers, for services that empower us to make better and more informed decisions in our lives, and allow companies to offer us more personalised and customised services.

Studying a new economy

HAT-enabled research projects can uncover new business models, as the removal of the limitations inherent to a lack of privacy empower us to uncover data-for-services transactions. The HAT's containers, called PDMAs (Personal Data Microservice Accounts), can contain rich information from a wide variety of data sources. These 'horizontal', contextualised data sets can provide us with a far deeper understanding of human activity and the digital economy than the 'vertical' data sets produced by the current fragmented model of multiple seperate accounts for different services.

How does it work?

HAT 'sandboxes' are hosted by universities and corporations around the world for both research and commercial projects. To conduct a research project on the HAT, contact us about provisioning and organising HATs for your research subjects. Funding is available for new global research projects.


The HAT platform was designed and created through the RCUK HAT Project founded by Professors Irene Ng, Jon Crowcroft, Roger Maull, Glenn Parry, Chris Speed, Tom Rodden and Kimberley Scharf. HAT Platform founders are Irene Ng, Xiao Ma, Paul Tasker and Andrius Aucinas.

HALL (HAT Living Labs)

HAT Living Labs (HALL) focuses on Business Model Innovation within the HAT Ecosystem. Funded through a £1.2m Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC) research grant to the Universities of Warwick, Cambridge, Surrey, and UWE, HALL is essentially a 'sandbox' within the HAT ecosystem, where real users of HATs Ð individuals and firms who have volunteered to participate in an experimental environment Ð exchange data and co-create innovations as well as test out business and economic models for data exchanges.

HARRIET (HAT Resource Integration and Enabling Tool)

The goal of the RCUK-funded HARRIET project is to create a HAT Dashboard, a Resource Integration and Enabling Tool (HARRIET). HARRIET will assist individuals to better understand their household consumption, and to make informed, life-improving decisions based on their own data stored on the HAT. HARRIET resulted in the creation of Rumpel, the HAT Dashboard.