Push the boundaries of data science @ONS

Tom Smith, Managing Director, ONS Data Science Campus By Tom Smith, Managing Director, ONS Data Science Campus

Open Data Camp is a great community-building event, and a hugely creative space to compare notes and work alongside people tackling some of the most important and challenging data problems. I blogged about OD Camp 3 in Bristol here, which was one of my highlights from last year. So I’m totally delighted that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) are sponsoring Open Data Camp 4 which is Cardiff bound this weekend.

I joined ONS last month to setup and lead the Data Science Campus, ONS’s hub and incubator for analysis announced in last year’s Budget, and based at the main ONS offices in Newport. Our goal is to explore how data sources such as administrative data and social data, and techniques such as machine learning and natural language parsing, can improve our understanding of the UK’s economy, communities and people. Our research programme is based around ‘People, Planet and Prosperity’, and will deliver projects under five themes: urban and rural future; society; sustainability; evolving economy and UK in a global context.

ONS Research Themes

As well as running exploratory projects with partners across government, academia, industry and not-profits, we are also building capacity – increasing the pipeline of data science skills into government and more widely. From December we have been running the UK’s first data analytics apprenticeships, programme with 8 apprentices in the Newport Campus – and applications for the next round are open until 26 February. We are also funding a number of students to study for PhD and Masters in data science, and mentoring students on the Government wide Data Science accelerator programme.

We are formally launching the Campus at ONS’s HQ in Newport next month, and over the next few weeks we will be starting to take the wraps off our research programme. If you are interested in pushing the boundaries of data science and statistics and research for the public good, do come and find me at Open Data Camp to talk – I look forward to meeting you!

Tom Smith

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