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UCL Masters scoop ESRC retail awards

Smart meters, airline passengers and cultural identity

UCL Masters scoop ESRC retail awards

This year's UCL MSc students, supervised by Guy Lansley in the Department of Geography, picked up all three of the ESRC Retail Research Masters prizes at the Annual Demographic Users Group Conference.

Congratulations to the winner, Nicholas Samson (MSc Geographic Information Science), and the two runners up, Elizabeth Townley (MSc Geographic Information Science) and Yiran Wei (MSc Geospatial Analysis).

The ESRC-sponsored Retail Research Masters scheme gives Masters students from all UK institutions the opportunity to undertake their dissertation with a major retailer or business on a retail topic. Retail research is avowedly interdisciplinary, and this scheme is designed for students from a wide range of backgrounds, including Geography, Business Studies, Computer Science, Economics, Management, Planning, Statistics, Anthropology, Psychology, and Operational Research. The competition was judged by Drs Sam Cockings and Jim Wright (University of Southampton) and Bruce Jackson (Economic and Social Research Council).

Nicholas Samson undertook his dissertation with British Gas, on whether smart meters can pinpoint which consumers are most likely and best placed to install insulation in their homes. His work segmented households, based on data from over 40,000 anonymised British Gas customer smart readers, which recorded daily energy consumption at 30 minute intervals.

Elizabeth Townley’s project was sponsored by EasyJet. She conducted a geodemographic segmentation analysis of the airline’s UK customers. The big data provided included almost 5 million individual customers, and their bookings from all EasyJet flights between May 2011 and May 2014.

Yiran Wei was sponsored by Sainsbury’s. Her project, on How Open Data Resources can be used to define a Composite Measure of Cultural Identity & Heritage, successfully created a cultural, ethnic and linguistic classification for England and Wales at a small area level.

Details on some of the 2014 retail research masters projects can be found on the Consumer Data Research Centre website:

See also:


Nicholas receiving the award from Bruce Jackson of the ESRC

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