New national innovation centre to put UK at forefront of big data

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A new £30 million National Innovation Centre for Data (NICD) aims to see the next Google or Facebook started in the UK and help the country capitalise on a potential £40 billion a year boost to the economy.

The National Centre aims to link up leading academic talent in universities with industry and the public sector to help them develop the skills they need to solve real world problems, using advances in data science.

The NICD will create a pipeline of talent to power the ground-breaking businesses of tomorrow with the aim to create an economy that helps Britain secure a future as a competitive, global nation.

Based in Newcastle, the centre builds on the strengths of great institutions in the Northern Powerhouse and forms an integral part of the Government’s approach.

Data science provides real benefits to everyday life. For example, it powers internet searches and apps, can predict and help treat health issues, and is behind new technology for maintaining cars and other machinery, allowing people to benefit from intelligent household appliances.

According to independent research, companies using data science are 10% more productive on average than those that do not, and companies that exploit data can reduce costs, innovate and develop new goods and services faster than those that do not and make faster and better decisions.

Studies by Nesta, the innovation foundation, show UK firms who use data most effectively are 40% more likely to launch new products and services ahead of their competitors.

Newcastle’s technology future

Newcastle has one of the largest and fastest growing digital clusters in the country with multi-national companies including Sage – the UK’s largest software company – Hewlett Packard and Accenture, as well as significant public sector IT facilities, including the HMRC Digital Delivery Centre, and major commercial data centres.

Newcastle University has a core group of specialists who have expertise in working closely with a wide range of industrial organisations through its Cloud Innovation Centre, and it also hosts the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Cloud Computing for Big Data Analytics at Newcastle University.

Professor Nick Wright, PVC Innovation and Business, Newcastle University, said: “NICD will help to address the data skills gap by taking a practical hands-on approach. We will work with organisations on their domain related problems, transferring the skills into the organisation that will enable them to innovate through data.”

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