RSS fellows lead new data science research £14m funding boost

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Congratulations to RSS fellows at Lancaster University, who are leading key research projects in a new £14m data science initiative funded by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

EPSRC is funding five new research projects that take novel approaches to challenges in data science, following a call made in late 2016. 

Former RSS council member Professor David Leslie will lead a project examining data science of the natural environment at Lancaster University and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. The £2.6m project, which includes £500,000 from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), will bring together statisticians, computer scientists, environmental scientists and others to create an integrated suite of novel data science tools. The tools will focus on three ‘grand challenges’ in environmental science: predicting ice sheet melt; modelling and mitigating poor air quality; and managing land use for societal benefit.

David Leslie said: 'We’re excited to have the opportunity to develop a suite of interfacing statistical methods which will be simple to use by environmental scientists, and combine effectively with their traditional deterministic process models. The close integration of a large number of environmental and data science partner organisations will help to ensure the project develops a useful set of tools.'

Professor Paul Fearnhead, RSS Guy Medallist in bronze (2007) and also based at Lancaster, will lead £3m+ project with the universities of Warwick, Bristol, Cambridge and Oxford. ‘New approaches to Bayesian data science: Tackling challenges from the health sciences’ will look at new Bayesian methods that are more applicable and usable by the health sciences than those currently used. The project will involve working with a number of health partners including GSK, AstraZeneca and Public Health England, using real data to test out new methods.

Three other projects were granted money by EPSRC in this data science initiative: ‘Closed-loop data science for complex, computationally- and data-intensive analytics’, at the University of Glasgow; ‘Big hypotheses: A fully parallelised Bayesian inference solution’ at the University of Liverpool, and also ‘Application driven topological data analysis’ at the University of Oxford. The EPSRC website has further details on each of these projects.

Co-investigators will come from the universities of Bristol, Cambridge, Warwick, Swansea University and the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Hartree Centre. The projects will also look to partner with other bodies like the Alan Turing Institute. 


Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Data science