2020 applicants
Business and Local Government Data Research Centre

News and Blog

Keep up to date with the latest news and blog posts from the Business and Local Government Data Research Centre and our partners.

News

Centre joins South East Digital Skills Partnership

The Business and Local Government Data Research Centre has joined the South East Digital Skills Partnership.

The Partnership has received government funding to help tackle digital skills challenges in the South East, which will help boost the local economy.

Read the story.

Local charities among those awarded innovation vouchers

Two regional charities were amongst the organisations awarded grant-funded data analytics support during the recent round of Data Analytics Innovation Vouchers (DAIVs).

Data Analytics Innovation Vouchers (DAIVs) enable organisations across the UK to benefit from thousands of pounds worth of cutting edge data analytics expertise. From predicting the deterioration of roads to in-depth impact assessment, DAIVs use the power of data to solve real-world challenges faced by businesses, charities and the public sector.

Those successfully awarded DAIVs have the opportunity to work with the Centre's international team of senior research officers to unlock the hidden potential held within data, with projects designed to improve practice and influence policy.

Laura Brookes, Outreach and Publicity Officer for the Centre, said, "The DAIV scheme has never been more popular and we are proud to create more opportunities for organisations to benefit from the support we provide."

Find out more about the DAIVs and how to apply or email BLGDataResearch@essex.ac.uk to book your consultation. 

Bounce back from COVID-19 flash funding round now open

The Business and Local Government Data Research Centre has launched a flash grant funding round enabling organisations across the UK to receive thousands of pounds worth of data analytics support.

From measuring impact to predicting future demand, businesses, charities and the public sector have a unique opportunity to engage with the Centre's senior research officers to bring a project to life. Now more than ever, organisations need to turn data into insight for informed decision making, predict future demand and make full use of the knowledge that data can bring.

As part of the launch of the flash funding round, the Centre is delivering a webinar on how to apply for a Data Analytics Innovation Voucher on Zoom on 10th June 2020.

This webinar is designed to give organisations the essential information required to apply for grant funded data analytics support.

Deadline for grant applications is 3rd July 2020. Please email BLGDataResearch@essex.ac.uk if you have any queries.

The Centre welcomes Dr Chatsiou to the team

Adding to the Business and Local Government Data Research Centre's international team of experts, Dr Chatsiou brings a wealth of experience on natural language processing and programme evaluation, enhancing the Centre's ability to support organisations with their data analytics needs.

Dr Chatsiou’s research focuses on applying innovative models of text mining to address key challenges when analysing textual and other forms of unstructured data including political texts and social media.  A specialist in Natural Language Processing and with a proven track record of enhancing organisations' ability to use data, Dr Chatsiou has supported a range of public sector bodies and charities. She has worked on data analytics projects but embedding a legacy of data sustainability by delivering expert training, enhancing data literacy and analytics capabilities.

Dr Chatsiou said: “I am very excited to have joined the ESRC Business and Local Government Data Research Centre, a world leading centre of expertise in data analytics at the University of Essex. I am especially looking forward to contributing my expertise in natural language processing and data science to help support local businesses and voluntary sector organisations and empowering them to improve their services and data capabilities.”

Having worked in partnership with the Centre for many years, we are thrilled Dr Chatsiou is now a formal member of the team, joining Dr Philip Broniecki, Dr Farhana Liza, Dr Luke Abbs and Husam Quteineh as Senior Research Officers.

Nigel Kirby, Project Manager said "I am delighted to welcome Kakia, who is an enthusiastic and dynamic colleague, and will add immediate and continuing impact, to the Centre and our stakeholders."

Look out for the series of webinars released in 2020 featuring Dr Chatsiou as she provides valuable insight for organisations into how they can maximise their use of their data, the power of effective impact assessment, evaluating services using data and many other topics.

New funding round for data analytics support opens

The Business and Local Government Data Research Centre has launched its next round of funding enabling organisations across the UK to receive thousands of pounds worth of data analytics support.

Businesses, charities and the public sector have a unique opportunity to engage with the Centre's senior research officers to bring a research project to life. Now more than ever, organisations need to turn data into insight for informed decision making, predict future demand and make full use of the knowledge that data can bring.

As part of the Centre's 'Bounce back from COVID-19' support being provided to organisations, it is delivering a webinar on how to apply for a Data Analytics Innovation Voucher on Zoom on 9th September 2020.

This webinar is designed to give organisations the essential information required to apply for grant funded data analytics support.

Applications will be opening on 31st August, with a deadline of 31st October 2020, so now is the ideal time to begin planning your application.

Blog

Helping ECDA shoot for the moon

Essex Centre for Data Analytics (ECDA) consists of Essex County Council, Essex Police and the University of Essex.  A partnership of data analysts ensures collaborative working across the county.

As ECDA celebrates its first year in operation, they have achieved many successes.

Thanks to training delivered the Business and Local Government Data Research Centre and our continued support, the ECDA analysts are now implementing innovative data analytics techniques for impact across Essex.

Read more at the Essex County Council blog.

Getting your data ready for a DAIV application

Every organisation comes to our Centre with different amounts and types of data.

The first step in applying to receive grant funded data analytics support through the DAIV scheme is to complete a simple expression of interest. This is the start of the planning process and will help you shape your project whilst helping us to ensure you receive the right support. 

Top tips from the research team

Have clear data objectives

  • What does the world look like when your organisation has fulfilled its mission?
  • How will your organisation achieve its mission? What are the core programmes you undertake?
  • What are some of the pain points or challenges your organisation faces?

Understand what data you hold

  • What data do you have?
  • What does the data represent (e.g. an individual, a state, a survey response)
  • What is the background (e.g. location, time, a paragraph on feedback)
  • What is the size of the data - for example, how many rows? how many months or years of data? how many countries?
  • What format is the data in (e.g. Excel, PDF, csv) and how is it organised?

Define your project

  • What data science project do you think would help you address these issues or objectives?
  • What data would you like to use for this project?

The privacy of your data is incredibly important to us. We take data privacy issues very seriously and we will work with you to ensure that we are all comfortable with the treatment of sensitive data.  It is therefore essential that you comply with our Data Sharing Agreements and GDPR. Please do not hesitate to email us at BLGdataresearch@essex.ac.uk with any questions.

Understand any privacy and information compliance issues

  • Who created the data (do you own the data)?
  • Will you be able to transfer the data if the project is approved so that your allocated researcher can complete the analytics?
  • Do you have the appropriate permission from your clients (if applicable)?
  • Are you committed to using data to make decisions, explore patterns, improve services and meet objectives?

The key to a successful data analytics project is to have a well-defined question in mind and a clear objective.

If you need help exploring what is possible with the data you hold or would like to discuss a project in more detail then please contact BLGdataresearch@essex.ac.uk to book your free virtual consultation with our expert team.

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