Students Staff

1 August 2017

Call for papers for China conference

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Tags: — Communications Office @ 10:36 am

image of dataNew approaches in data science and analytics will be discussed by scientists, professionals and industry leaders at a special conference in China, co-sponsored by the University.

The first International Conference on the Frontiers and Advances in Data Science (FADS) takes place on 23-25 October 2017 in Xian, China.

Co-sponsored by the University’s Institute for Analytics and Data Science (IADS), the conference will provide the perfect platform for experts to share knowledge about advances in this field and new approaches for harnessing data which can bring huge benefits to fields as diverse as health, finance, the environment, business and public policy.

The event is being co-chaired by Professor Maria Fasli, Director of IADS and UNESCO Chair in Analytics and Data Science.

Submissions of original and previously unpublished theoretical and practical work in all fields of data science and analytics including methodologies and techniques for big data are welcome. The deadline for paper submissions for the general conference is 10 August while several special sessions have later deadlines. Staff and students who are interested in participating and presenting at the conference are encouraged to get in touch with Professor Maria Fasli ( for enquiries and further information. All submissions will be reviewed by at least two members of the Program Committee on the basis of novelty, technical quality, relevance to the conference theme, significance, and clarity of presentation.

Further information is available from the FADS 2017 website


The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.

18 August 2016

What does our data-driven future mean to you?

Filed under: Latest news, What's on — Tags: — Communications Office @ 11:24 am

Big dataThe hidden world of data and what it means for all of us will be explored in four keynote lectures for staff and students as part of next month’s Essex Big Data and Analytics Summer School.

All the lectures will be held in the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall’s Auditorium A on our Colchester Campus.

Monday 5September 4.45pm-5.45pm

Speaker: Harry Powell, Head of Advanced Data Analytics, Barclays PLC

Title: List[Corporation].map(x => google(x)).reduce(_ + _) === ???

Abstract: How do you apply “Google” technology to a 325-year-old bank? The digital economy accounts for only 5% of GDP. Data science will revolutionise our world only once we work out how to apply it in established “old-world” businesses.

But there are challenges in doing so and overcoming them requires an appreciation of what data science is, how it is different and why. This talk will draw on Harry Powell’s experience of building the Advanced Data Analytics team at Barclays and in building big data machine learning applications in a regulated environment.


Wednesday 7September 4.45pm-5.45pm

Speaker: Hado an Hasselt, Senior Research Scientist, Google Deepmind

Title: Deep reinforcement learning

Abstract: Reinforcement learning gives us a way to build machines that can learn to make decisions automatically and autonomously, without prior demonstrations of desired behaviour.  This means that the machine can find solutions that its designer did not need to specify or even know.  This talk will discuss how to use reinforcement learning to learn how to make decisions, and how to combine it with deep learning to scale to impressive applications.


Monday 12September 4.45pm-5.45pm

Speaker: Hetan Shah, Executive Director, The Royal Statistical Society

Title: A data manifesto

Abstract: Hetan Shah will talk about the Royal Statistical Society’s Data Manifesto which argues that government can improve democracy, policymaking and prosperity through better use of data and statistics. He will discuss a range of issues including data access and data sharing, open data, statistical skills and the ‘data trust deficit’.


Wednesday 14 September 4.45pm-5.45pm

Speaker: Megan Lucero, Data Journalism Editor, News UK

Title: What’s next for (data) journalism?

Abstract: Over the past few years, The Times and Sunday Times broke several exclusives that led to international outcry and institutional change, due in part to their investment in a computational investigations team.

From uncovering tax avoidance, to doping in athletics, the data team at The Times and Sunday Times changed journalism practice by integrating computing into the story finding process. The team, equipped with statisticians, programmers and journalists, lend an analytical eye to stories in a unique way for a newspaper.

This talk by the team’s Data Editor, Megan Lucero, will go behind the scenes of several of their big stories and explain how data analysis can advance accountability in journalism and society.

Essex Big Data and Analytics Summer School is being held from 5 to 16 September 2016 at Colchester Campus.



The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.

15 December 2015

Essex big data projects feature in ESRC magazine

Filed under: Research impact — Tags: — Communications Office @ 12:28 pm

Britain in 2016Two big data projects based at Essex have been featured in the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)’s annual flagship magazine.

Britain in 2016 showcases the economic and social research funded by the ESRC, and this year’s includes a feature on how data can help society to work better and businesses to compete.

The article looks at the Administrative Data Research Network, established in 2014 to allow researchers to carry out social and economic research using administrative data, and the Business and Local Government Data Research Centre, set up to help companies, local authorities and academics to use data more effectively.

Dr Melanie Wright is Director of the Administrative Data Service, which co-ordinates the Administrative Data Research Network here at Essex. She told the magazine: “We set out to build a new research infrastructure, which would enable researchers to have access to incredibly rich, important and detailed data – but to do it in a way that is safe, secure, regulated and controlled, and always in the public interest.”

The three-page feature examines how the Network consulted privacy groups to address public concerns about how data are used. “Right from the beginning,” Melanie adds, “we were aware that there’s huge public concern about privacy and how government uses data collected about people – data that’s really not recorded for the purposes of research.”

The article also examines the role of the Business and Local Government Data Research Centre, also established in 2014. Professor Vania Sena, Director of the Centre, based at Essex Business School, says, “There is a layer of companies, especially in our region, which would benefit from being able to analyse big data, but they don’t have the skills or technical knowledge to do this. We focus on SMEs and local government. We collect their data sources and try to merge them with additional sources of data to create a more detailed picture.”

One of the research projects it has undertaken examined what faster broadband means for local businesses – whether transactions are now made electronically, for example, and if businesses are Skyping their suppliers. The Centre also trains businesses in using data to increase productivity and efficiency.

The Administrative Data Research Network, meanwhile, has around 50 projects at various stages of development, including one which will look at the socio-economic impact of Northern Ireland’s ‘peace walls’.

Britain in 2016 is out now, and available at WH Smith, Marks and Spencer, Waitrose and Boots.

You can also order a copy by emailing:



The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.

14 July 2015

Making the most of big data

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Tags: — Communications Office @ 2:43 pm
Professor Anthony opens the IADS conference

University of Essex Vice-Chancellor Professor Anthony Forster opens the IADS conference

The potential of big data was discussed at a special conference organised by our Institute for Analytics and Data Science (IADS).

Analysts and researchers from across the academic, business and local government sector came together at Wivenhoe House to explore the potential of big data analytics and identify areas of potential collaboration.

IADS is a multi and interdisciplinary institute, bringing together expertise in analytics and data science from across our University.

During the conference IADS director Professor Maria Fasli explained how academics from across disciplines were working together to look at the wide range of challenges around big data and how it can be used to answer key questions in society.

The speakers also included Professor Vania Sena, from Essex Business School, who said there was a need to remove the hype from the reality around big data and the how the Essex-based ESRC Business and Local Government Data Research Centre was focused on empowering organisations to use their data to improve their businesses and operations.





The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.

19 September 2014

Essex hosts Big Data event

Filed under: Latest news — Tags: — Communications Office @ 1:26 pm

Big dataEssex will on Wednesday host the first meeting of partners of the Administrative Data Research Network, which has a key role in the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) £64 million investment in Big Data.

The Network is a UK-wide partnership of universities, government departments and agencies, national statistics authorities, funders and the wider research community.

Coordinated by the University of Essex-based Administrative Data Service, the Network will enable accredited researchers to carry out research based on linked, de-identified data between government departments.

The meeting at Essex will allow many of the staff involved to work on preparations for the Network’s launch in the autumn, when it will accept its first research proposals.

The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.

10 October 2013

Essex receives £5 million for new Big Data Network centre

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Tags: , , , , — Communications Office @ 11:23 am
David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science

David Willetts MP made the announcement at the Mountbatten Memorial Lecture

David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science, has announced plans for a Big Data Network which includes almost £5 million for the Essex-based UK Data Service to form a new service for streamlining research access to data collected by government departments and other agencies.

The money, awarded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), will allow Essex’s data experts to ensure that researchers across the country can effectively and securely access large datasets for research that will directly influence policy and ultimately benefit the public.

Speaking at the Mountbatten Memorial Lecture at the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Mr Willetts outlined the ESRC’s vision for a network of innovative data centres across the UK which will strengthen the country’s competitive advantage in Big Data.

At the heart of the project will be the new Essex-led Administrative Data Service (ADS), jointly formed with the Administrative Data Liaison Service, which is currently managed by the University of St Andrews. The ADS infrastructure will provide a one-stop-shop for finding, learning about, and requesting access to administrative data for research.

Melanie Wright, Principal Investigator of the new ADS and Associate Director of the UK Data Service, explained the importance of yesterday’s announcement: “Research access to administrative and linked data holds enormous potential – for researchers, for government, and for the people of the UK. You cannot make or evaluate public policy without using administrative data.

This Administrative Data Network, consisting of the ADS and four new Administrative Data Research Centres (ADRCs), marks the first phase of the ESRC’s £64 million investment in a Big Data Network. Two further phases involving new centres for business and local government data, and third sector and social media data, will be established in the coming year.

The ADS will play an overarching role in the network, actively bringing together the four ADRCs. Its core responsibilities will be: to provide a first point of contact for administrative data users and owners; be the central point for managing research access requests; ensure there is consistency in standards and practice across the network; engage with data owners, users and the public to develop a culture of effective and secure data sharing to enable better research for the public benefit; and to develop capacity and skills in using administrative data for research.

The University of Essex will moderate comments and there will be a delay before any posts appear.