The Office for National Statistics (ONS) will today open its new Data Science Campus at its Newport HQ, part of a £17m investment in statistics announced in March last year.

The Campus has been established to use new data sources and technologies to provide statistics for policy makers and businesses about the fast-moving UK economy and society.

Creating this resource for the nation is part of the ONS’s ongoing programme of work to meet the challenge of providing richer and more real-time statistics to inform decision makers.

Speaking at the Campus launch, National Statistician John Pullinger will say:

“The Data Science Campus will innovate with new methods and data sources providing opportunities to improve existing statistics and develop new outputs by working across government, industry, academia and charities in the UK and internationally. The wide range of training and learning programmes which the Campus will offer will also be central to building data science capability across the UK. Through these actions, the Campus will help us realise our vision of better statistics for better decisions.”

Speaking ahead of the launch, Campus Managing Director Tom Smith says:

“There is huge potential for data science – through new data sources and techniques – to improve our understanding of the economy and society. The data ONS provides underpins some of the most important decisions that affect society, and the better the data we can provide, the better those decisions can be. We have a wonderful opportunity now to work with businesses and academics to develop this data, for the public good.”

Formally opening the new facility, Cabinet Office Minister Ben Gummer MP, says:

"I have been very pleased to see how the ONS is busy transforming itself into a twenty-first century data-driven organisation which serves as a focal point for UK data science and an important provider of skilled jobs in South Wales. Efficient and effective government needs precise economic data, and it is encouraging to see how the ONS and its people are rising to meet that challenge.”

Plans for the Campus were announced last spring as part of ONS’s ongoing plans to develop the statistical information it provides. The Campus will work on projects within 5 themes, under the collective title of “People, Planet and Prosperity”:

  • evolving economy
  • urban and rural
  • society
  • sustainability
  • UK in a global context

The Data Science Campus will work with national and international partners from academia, government and business to deliver joint research programmes and to build UK data science capability, including providing funding opportunities for PhD candidates. As part of this, the ONS set up the first UK Data Analytics apprenticeship scheme and are planning more opportunities to train people in these skills that are so important for the UK’s decision-makers.

Guests at the launch will have the opportunity to explore the new Data Science Campus building and to hear from data scientists across ONS, including the apprentices, about the initial projects being carried out, work on understanding the economy and financial sectors, international trade, population flows, and the environment.

Guest organisations (Warwick Business School, Stats Netherland, Flowminder and the Met Office) will talk about projects they have worked on that demonstrate what can be achieved with new data sources for the public good.

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