The University of Glasgow’s Urban Big Data Centre (UBDC) has been granted £5 million in funding to continue its pioneering data research.
The centre works on a number of projects, including the development of pioneering methods to improve social, economic and environmental well-being in cities.
Glasgow University and the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) will jointly fund the centre for the next five years, ensuring closer ties between government, industry and academia.
The funding announcement was made at the ‘Shaping Cities Through Urban Analytics’ event in Glasgow yesterday.
The event celebrates and recognises the impact the centre has had upon four “key research strands”, which include Transport and Mobility; Education and Skills; Housing and Neighbourhoods; and Urban Analytics.
It also acts a platform through which the centre can showcase both its work and its vision for the future of urban analytics.
Digital Economy Minister Kate Forbes opened the event yesterday. Forbes said the funding will enable the centre to continue its “world-leading research” and underlined the Scottish Government’s commitment to supporting innovation.
“I am delighted to celebrate the University of Glasgow receiving £5 million in funding to continue the highly successful Urban Big Data Centre,” she said. “This funding will enable the continued delivery of world-leading urban research over the next five years.
“The Scottish Government recognises the benefits that data-driven innovation can bring and the use of ‘Big-data’ to address the challenges we face, both locally and globally, is a real opportunity we must truly embrace.
“Together with Scotland’s academic community, we are building on the investments being made in Scotland, and working collaboratively to deliver outcomes that save time, save money and save lives.”
Professor Nick Bailey, Professor of Urban Studies and Director of the Urban Big Data Centre, said the funding will allow the centre to build on its current successes, while “expanding the range of applications and working with a wider range of partners.”
Bailey commented: “In its first five years, the UBDC has established itself at the cutting-edge of this fast-developing field.
“We have secured access to a wide variety of novel forms of data, from social media to business transactions to satellite imagery. We have advanced the methods used to turn these data into useful knowledge and we have shown how this knowledge can help up address real-world challenges facing our cities – such as the promotion of healthier travel choices.”
To date, nine ESRC research centres – including UBDC – have been awarded a total of nearly £10.5 million in transition funding and support from research organisations.
This funding plays a critical role in securing the long-term sustainability of social science centres of research excellence in the UK.
Professor Jennifer Rubin, ESRC’s Executive Chair, said: “We are delighted that these nine centres have secured transitional funding. The breadth of social science that these centres of excellence encompass illustrates the strength of UK social science.
“This funding will support these centres and help set them on a path to long-term sustainability.”