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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  News Archive  /  2014  /  February 2014  /  Investing in Big Data

Investing in Big Data

Paul Longley to lead UCL Research Centre in major ESRC programme

Investing in Big Data

The Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, has announced the release of £14 million to fund the second phase of the ESRC's investment in Big Data. At a speech at the High Performance Computing and Big Data Conference, he outlined what steps are being taken to strengthen the UK’s competitive advantage in Big Data

This latest funding, part of a pot of £64 million announced in October 2013, will be used to support the establishment of ESRC Business and Local Government Data Research Centres at UCL, Essex, Glasgow  and Leeds Universities. The UCL grant is led by Professor Paul Longley, working locally with Dr James Cheshire and Professor Mike Batty (CASA), Dr Slava Mikhaylov (Political Science), Dr Tao Cheng (Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering), and nationally with the Universities of Liverpool (coordinated by UCL Geography alumnus Dr Alex Singleton) and Oxford.

The Data Research Centres will make data, routinely collected by business and local government organisations, accessible to support high quality research in the social sciences, while also safeguarding individuals’ identities. This will provide a sound evidence-base to inform policy development, implementation and evaluation. It requires not just the development of a safe, secure and efficient system for linking, managing and analysing such data, founded on secure technologies, but also trust between data owners, researchers and other interested parties including the public.

Further details are available at


Professor Paul Longley © RGS-IBG/Howard Sayer

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