The University of Cambridge is launching a new research centre which will pool expertise from across academic departments and industry to drive research into the analysis, understanding and use of big data.
Dubbed The Cambridge Centre for Data-Driven Discovery, the hub will harness the knowledge of academics in data science, ethics and from a wide range of disciplines.
The centre will allow experts across a number of areas, including those with technical, mathematical and topic knowledge, to work together on tackling the methodological and practical challenges presented by handling large data-sets.
It will be funded by a series of collaborations with up to ten partners in business and industry, with insurance giant Aviva to be the founding partner. The company will sponsor a research fellowship and support PhD students to help investigate some of the ethical, political and operational questions surrounding the use of data.
The relationship will help Aviva develop new ethical approaches to advising customers through evidence-based science, while enabling university researchers to develop methods and tools to address real-world problems. The aim is also to influence the wider debate about how organisations address the difficult methodological, practical and ethical challenges of using large data-sets.
Cambridge Centre for Data-Driven Discovery co-chair Professor Anna Vignoles said: “The university is constantly looking for innovative ways for our research to make a difference to the wider world, as well as opportunities for our students to gain valuable experience of industry.
“Working with Aviva will give our researchers the opportunity to solve some ‘real world’ challenges, ranging from how to securely, ethically, efficiently and effectively store and use their customers’ data and to identify what health interventions are most likely to help their customers live a longer and healthier life.”
The managing director of Aviva Quantum, Aviva’s global data science practice, Owen Morris added: “Aviva is on a mission to create a world-class data science capability – and this partnership will equip us with unparalleled access to knowledge and research in this area.”