Science minister David Willetts will be among the panel members discussing the new arrangements for funding Higher Education from 2012 and their implications for the Humanities and Social Sciences at the British Academy on 19 December, 6pm-7:30pm.
Joining the minister on the panel will be Professor Jonathan Bate, Provost of Worcester College, Oxford and Vice-President (Humanities) for the British Academy and Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive of Universities UK. The chair is Ann Mroz, Editor of Times Higher Education.
Attendance is free, but registration is required for this event. More information is available on the British Academy web site.
After three years as an independent organisation the pressure group, Straight Statistics, is to merge with independent fact-checking organisation, Full Fact. The merged organisation is to recruit a specialist editor to lead its statistics work.
In their announcement, the two organisations highlight their shared aim of “exploring matters of public interest with the aim of establishing the truth”. They say that they “see this as an opportunity to create an organisation more expert and more influential than either could be alone and we hope our supporters will be as excited as we are by the possibilities”.
The Chairman of Straight Statistics, Lord Lipsey, will join the board of Full Fact. Will Moy, Director of Full Fact, will be responsible for the merged organisation. A specialist editor is to be recruited (pdf format, opens in new window) in order to continue Straight Statistics’ work, both to contribute articles to the Full Fact web site themselves and to build a network of statistician contributors.
Full Fact is a generalist factchecking organisation and is well known for working with regulators including the UK Statistics Authority and the Press Complaints Commission to get misleading claims corrected.
As well as analysing statistical claims on its website and exposing poor practice to a growing audience, Straight Statistics has made its reputation by supporting the founding of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Statistics and training journalists from new graduates to the top levels of the national press.
The Board of Straight Statistics added that it would like to take this opportunity publicly to thank Nigel Hawkes, its director, for all that he has done for Straight Statistics.
The RSS’s getstats campaign has just reviewed ‘Moneyball’, a new film, released in the UK on 25 November – starring statistics (and co-starring Brad Pitt).
It tells the true story of how two men running in the face of conventional sports wisdom use a numbers-based strategy to take the low-salaried Oakland As baseball team on a winning streak.
If you and family, friends or colleagues have seen the film and have views on the role of numbers in this film or in sport more generally , do join in the discussion in our Stats and Sports forum.
Applications are now being accepted for this short course to be held at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine from 15-17 February 2012.
The course will discuss the current state of the art with respect to factor analysis and structural equation modelling, while retaining a practical focus. Participants will acquire awareness of the new available methods and gain competence in applying and combining these in simple settings. The course directors are Bianca de Stavola and George Ploubidis.
With the aim of the aim of stimulating enterprise and getting greater value out of public datasets, the UK Chancellor George Osborne has announced a range of open data measures in his Autumn Statement.
Specific measures include:
improving medical knowledge and practice with a new service that links data from GPs and hospitals. This should enable NHS outcomes to be tracked more comprehensively by doctors, the pharmaceutical industry and others with an interest in health care and will put “the UK in a prime position for research investment”.
starting in April 2012, improving business and leisure travel with real-time local transport data including train services, information at all 350,000 bus stops in the UK and roadwork information; the data will be available for use in public transport systems and personal services such as mobile phone apps and satnavs.
nurturing “high tech consumer information markets” by opening up online access for all citizens to personal data:
- giving all NHS patients online access to their GP records by the end of this Parliament
- publishing more comprehensive data on school performance from spring 2012
supporting the growth of new businesses with free access to a range of core reference datasets including residential property sales in England and Wales, and Met Office weather data
- creating a Data Strategy Board and a Public Data Group to maximise the value of data the public sector buys from Met Office, Ordnance Survey, the Land Registry and Companies House.
The government has developed the open data measures through consultation with almost 120 commercial enterprises, ranging from GlaxoSmithKline, Experian and SAS UK, to Action 4 Employment and hi-tech digital start-ups.
It believes that current total direct and indirect economic value of public sector information in the UK is already about £16 billion annually, and that “this emerging market is set to grow considerably”.
A Cabinet Office statement on the open measures (pdf format, opens in new window) said “Traditionally, government has sought to realise this value through charging for some of this information. More often than not, large tracts of public sector information remain unanalysed and under-used in Departments due to resource constraints, low awareness of value, and cultural unwillingness to make this data available.”
It said that opening up government data will enable the building of data and analytics markets, expand existing market opportunities and help create new products and services.
This will help realise the Prime Minister’s ambition to make ‘Tech City’ – the cluster of hi-tech businesses in London’s Shoreditch – “one of the world’s great technology centres”.
To this end it has revived a scheme first proposed by Gordon Brown in March 2010 now dubbed the ‘Open Data Institute’. The institute will “innovate, exploit and research open data opportunities with business and academia” and will be headed by Professor Nigel Shadbolt and Sir Tim Berners-Lee.