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Data research centre awarded £5m funding

Big data

The Urban Big Data Centre at the University of Glasgow has been awarded £5 million to continue its pioneering work promoting the use of big data and innovative methods to improve social, economic and environmental well-being in cities.

The centre will be jointly funded by the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) and the University of Glasgow for the next five years. As well as continuing to pioneer the science of urban analytics, the Centre will work closely with government and industry to ensure the benefits of that research are maximised.

The funding announcement will be shared with an audience of senior stakeholders from academia, industry, the public sector, and the third sector at a showcase event on 'Shaping Cities Through Urban Analytics' taking place today in Glasgow.

It will celebrate the impacts the centre has achieved to date in four key research strands: Transport and Mobility; Education and Skills; Housing and Neighbourhoods; and Urban Analytics. The event also provides the opportunity to share the Centre’s vision for the future of urban analytics.

Digital Economy Minister Kate Forbes, who will open the event, said: “I am delighted to celebrate the University of Glasgow receiving £5 million in funding to continue the highly successful Urban Big Data Centre. This funding will enable the continued delivery of world-leading urban research over the next 5 years.

“The Scottish Government recognises the benefits that data driven innovation can bring and the use of ‘Big-data’ to address the challenges we face, both locally and globally, is a real opportunity we must truly embrace.

“Together with Scotland’s academic community, we are building on the investments being made in Scotland, and working collaboratively to deliver outcomes that save time, save money and save lives.”

Professor Nick Bailey, Professor of Urban Studies and Urban Big Data Centre director, said: “In its first five years, UBDC has established itself at the cutting edge of this fast-developing field.

"We have secured access to a wide variety of novel forms of data from social media to business transactions to satellite imagery. We have advanced the methods used to turn these data into useful knowledge. And we have shown how this knowledge can help us address real-world challenges facing our cities such as the promotion of healthier travel choices.

"Over the next five years, we look forward to building on these foundations, expanding the range of applications and working with a wider range of partners.”

Professor Anne Anderson, University of Glasgow vice principal and head of the College of Social Sciences, said: “The UBDC is a hugely successful and valued part of Glasgow’s research environment and we are committed to the growth of its urban data science capacity in the coming years.

"UBDC enables exciting interdisciplinary research at the boundaries of social sciences, computing science, engineering and statistics, as well as a range of multi-faceted partnerships with the private and public sectors.

"The research excellence and collaborative partnerships catalysed by UBDC continue to be a fundamental pillar of our research strategy.”

Nine existing ESRC research centres, including UBDC, have been awarded a total of just under £10.5 million in transition funding and support from research organisations to secure the long-term sustainability of social science centres of research excellence in the UK.

Commenting on the transition funding for research centres, Professor Jennifer Rubin, ESRC’s executive chair, said: "We are delighted that these nine centres have secured transitional funding. The breadth of social science that these centres of excellence encompass illustrates the strength of UK social science.

"This funding will support these centres and help set them on a path to long term sustainability. This model for funding social science research centres in partnership with research organisations in the UK recognises their strategic and financial benefits and their potential for making a contribution to better lives nationally and internationally."

 

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