Editorial

Office of National Statistics unveils major Data Science resource

New Newport Data Science Campus part of plan to make Wales “the home of world class statistics”

Posted 29 March 2017 by

A new national data science hub opened its doors in Newport yesterday in a bid to “harness new data sources and technologies to provide statistics for policy makers and businesses about the fast-moving UK economy and society”, according to the government.

Creating such a national resource is claimed to be part of the Office of National Statistics (ONS)’s ongoing programme of work to meet the challenge of providing richer and more real-time statistics to inform decision makers.

Plans for the Campus were announced last spring, as part of ONS’s ongoing plans to develop the statistical information it provides.

The Campus will work on projects within five themes, under the collective title of People, Planet and Prosperity: Evolving economy, Urban and rural, Society, Sustainability, and the UK in a global context.

The Data Science Campus, to give it its official moniker, will work with national and international partners from academia, government and business to deliver joint research programmes and to build UK data science capability, including providing funding opportunities for PhD candidates.

As part of this, the ONS set up the first UK Data Analytics apprenticeship scheme and are planning more opportunities to train people in these skills that are so important for the UK’s decision-makers.

Speaking at the launch event yesterday, Cabinet Minister Ben Gummer noted that, “Now more than ever the UK needs fast, precise economic data, and it is encouraging to see how ONS and its people are rising to meet that challenge.”

Newport is becoming something of a data boom town, it seems, with the ONS’s Newport HQ in line for a £10m modernisation, reflecting HMG’s ongoing commitment to making this part of Wales “the home of world class statistics”.

“The Data Science Campus will innovate with new methods and data sources providing opportunities to improve existing statistics and develop new outputs by working across government, industry, academia and charities in the UK and internationally,” added National Statistician John Pullinger.

“The wide range of training and learning programmes which the Campus will offer will also be central to building data science capability across the UK.

“Through these actions, the Campus will help us realise our vision of better statistics for better decisions.”