Students Staff

12 November 2013

Essex leads the way at mapping and monitoring human rights conference

Filed under: Latest news, Research impact — Tags: , , , , , , — Communications Office @ 1:12 pm
One of the panels from the event

Dr Andrew Fagan from the Human Rights Centre, Professor Todd Landman, Executive Dean in the Faculty of Social Sciences, Jonathan Cooper from Cyberalpha and Astrid Zweynert, Deputy Editor of Trust Organisation at Thomson Reuters Foundation

Key figures from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Amnesty International and Minority Rights Group International joined forces with the University of Essex and the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Friday 8 November at a conference aimed at promoting the mapping and monitoring of human rights protection around the world.

The event, which was held at the prestigious Thomson Reuters building in Canary Wharf, featured presentations and discussions on developments in the use of data, web resources and social media in the field of human rights.

Professor Todd Landman, Executive Dean for the Faculty of Social Sciences at Essex,  said: “The day gathered together leading experts in the use of systematic methods for measuring, monitoring and mapping human rights while promoting rich discussions that cut across academics, policy makers, journalists, and human rights activists. The event showed that there are many perils in this work and that all efforts should concentrate on the best collection of the most validated evidence possible.”

The conference was part of an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded project, Extending the Human Rights Atlas. This project is led by the University of Essex in partnership with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, The Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex, The Mackman Group and the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences – Mexico (FLACSO-Mexico).


The Human Rights Atlas website

To view the Twitter feed from the conference please go to #maphumanrights2013

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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.

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