GW4 funds data science projects to capitalise on regional strength

February 16, 2018

Seed-corn awards will catalyse new collaborations in data intensive research

Five research projects have received seed-corn funding from the GW4 Alliance to broker new partnerships and develop fresh solutions which apply data science.

Data science is widely acknowledged to be one of the premier strengths of the Great West region, building on university expertise and venerated institutions such as the ONS, GCHQ and the Met Office.

The five successful projects have been awarded £21,000 collectively from the GW4 Alliance (the research-intensive universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter). The projects combine interdisciplinary expertise to apply data-intensive research to real-world challenges, including brain function, neonatal care and aeronautical engineering.

The seed-corn funding call was organised by data science groups across the GW4 Alliance, including University of Bath’s Institute for Mathematical Innovation, University of Bristol’s Jean Golding Institute, Cardiff University’s Data Innovation Research Institute and University of Exeter’s Computer Science department, supported by GW4’s Building Communities programme.

The innovative projects funded by the call will develop new algorithms and establish partnerships with external organisations with a real-world need for data science solutions, including Oxfam, Cray Inc. and the NHS.

They will also enable researchers to share cutting-edge data science tools, software and best practice across GW4 institutions and beyond, including using GW4’s Isambard, the world’s first ARM-based supercomputer.

The five projects are as follows:

  • Evaluating the performance of a large-eddy simulation code in 64-bit ARM processors
  • Data intensive research using national database: Predictors of adverse outcome in cooled infants with hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy and perinatal infection
  • High-performance algorithms for Dynamic Bayesian Networks
  • European Study Group with Industry: linking data science and mathematical modelling
  • Recurrence analysis for time-varying networks and its application to brain dynamics

Patricia Holley, Manager of the Jean Golding Institute, University of Bristol, said: “The GW4 Data Science Seed corn funding’s main aim was to promote a growing data science community in the region that will take advantage of the many funding opportunities that now exist for large consortium bids in this research area. This activity is the culmination of a series of workshops hosted at each GW4 institutions to share our work, and to develop a shared strategy for pursuing major funding opportunities expected in the near-to-medium-term.

Data intensive research underpins many aspects of digital innovation and the South West England and South East Wales Science and Innovation Audit (SIA) highlighted the strengths within GW4.  The Data Science Institutes based in the GW4 partner institutions are working collaboratively to increase region wide coordination, communication, and cooperation of data science researchers and practitioners.”

Dr Sarah Perkins, GW4 Director, said: “Data science has long been recognised as one of the leading strengths of South West England and South East Wales, with GW4 universities at the forefront of data innovation. We are delighted to support these projects which will apply data intensive research techniques and tools to solve real-world challenges in areas such as health, engineering and the environment. GW4 has a strong track record in developing collaborative research communities from the ground up, generating £11.73 in external research income for every £1 we spend. I am sure that these projects will build on this legacy and l look forward to seeing how they contribute to data science expertise and exploration across the Great West.”

The five successful data science projects will commence now and will close in June 2018, when they will share results and insights.