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Using research to guide our online safety work

Published: 15 April 2024

Today we’re publishing our online safety research agenda, which sets out the areas of research that will help to inform and underpin our long-term work as the UK’s online safety regulator.

As an evidence-based regulator, we use research and data to guide our activity across our various workstreams.

This is no different for our online safety work. We have an extensive research programme in place to help us in our online safety duties.

Following on from the research we have already conducted, and given the complexity of the Online Safety Act and the services we regulate, we will continue with a programme of ongoing research that will broaden our evidence base and help to keep us up to date with changes in the online world.

Publishing our research agenda enables us to be transparent about our research interests and goals, and encourages collaboration with the wider research community both in the UK and around the world. By setting out our areas of interest we hope to encourage the development of future research.

Our areas of interest for future research are arranged into four themes:

  • understanding user activity and behaviour;
  • understanding online risk and harm;
  • understanding service design and characteristics; and
  • understanding safety measures and technologies.

Research underpins everything we do at Ofcom. We can only deliver a safer life online for people in the UK, and ensure online services effectively protect users and their rights, if we hold ourselves to a standard of excellence in our research and data activity. We’ve invested in an extensive programme of research to date, but we are also committed to working alongside the global community of researchers with whom we share common interests.

Ofcom has always valued its relationship with external researchers. By publishing this research agenda, we hope to accelerate our engagement and collaboration around these common goals, as we continue to keep pace with the rate of change and maximise our innovation in the online landscape.

Gill Whitehead, Ofcom’s Group Director for Online Safety

Working with us

Please get in touch with Ofcom at academic.engagement@ofcom.org.uk or complete the initial expression of interest form if you would like further information about our research interests and/or to discuss ways of working with us.

For more information, see our research agenda in full.

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