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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R018855/1
Title: The National Innovation Centre for Data
Principal Investigator: Watson, Professor P
Other Investigators:
Hodgson, Mr B
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Computer Science
Organisation: Newcastle University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 April 2016 Ends: 30 April 2020 Value (£): 15,000,000
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Information & Knowledge Mgmt
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
The global economy is undergoing a data-driven revolution. Exponential growth in the volume of personal and professional data is raising huge new opportunities and challenges for organisations and individuals. Properly processed and analysed, data can lead to radical innovations, enabling significant value creation. Worldwide revenues for big data analytics are estimated to grow from nearly $122bn in 2015 to more than $187bn in 2019, an increase of more than 50% over the period.

However, whilst the enormous potential for data innovation to increase productivity across all organisations is widely recognised, many organisations will not benefit due to an acute skills shortage. PwC's 2015 Annual CEO Survey found that 80% of UK CEOs see data analytics as a key strand of their strategy and a source of competitive advantage, 73% believe that availability of key skills is a major threat. Subsequently, various Government funded reports have supported this conclusion, recognising that the digital skills gap is approaching crisis levels and finding that 'the wider set of big data skills are not being strategically addressed. Therefore, while analysis predicts that data will benefit the UK economy by up to £241bn between 2015 and 2020, the full extent of this opportunity is currently unrealised.

The National Innovation Centre for Data (NICD) - previously referred to as the National Institute for Smart Data Innovation - will play a leading role in addressing this key problem that is holding back the UK, by creating a unique new facility which delivers data analytics skills into industry and the public sector by exploiting the knowledge and expertise currently locked within Universities. A flexible rolling programme of collaborative projects focussed on organisations' specific challenges and opportunities will transfer practical data skills into the workforce of those organisations. These projects will be supported by a range of related activities, including awareness raisin events, themed business and technical seminars and technical training courses. The result of engagement with NICD will be to enable organisations to increase their productivity by optimising their existing operations, and to grow by launching new data-driven products and services. The UK economy and wider society will benefit from this increase in innovation through data.

NICD's objectives are therefore:

- To deliver insights that make UK organisations aware of the value of data to their business, and aware of the skills required to realise that value.

- To deliver data analytics skills into the workforce of UK organisations, enabling them to create value from their data.

- To connect UK organisations into networks of data skills so that they can continually learn with others how to innovate through data.

Newcastle is an ideal location for NICD. It has one of the largest and fastest growing digital clusters in the country with strong representation from 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.

NICD's facilities will also be used to excite and educate students and schoolchildren about the opportunity for rewarding careers in the digital sector. This is another way in which it will contribute to tackling the key data skills gap.

By providing world-class facilities and services under one roof, the NICD building will act as a 'beacon' for Data Innovation. It will accelerate innovation by delivering key technical and practical data skills into organisations, enabling them to improve their competitiveness and grow their business. Its activities will deliver economic growth and enable the UK to become a global leader in innovation through data.

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Organisation Website: http://www.ncl.ac.uk