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Cardiff University partnership strengthens the Office for National Statistics’ presence in South Wales

New data science skills are on offer with a summer school scheme, new senior academic position and extra Masters and PhD courses, as part of a new strategic partnership between Cardiff University and the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The strategic partnership, the first of its kind for Cardiff University, was announced at the Innovation and Impact Awards held at the National Museum Cardiff. The event celebrates successful collaborations between academics and business.

This partnership will have broader regional impact, including a focus on data and data science, identified as a priority by UK Government, Welsh Government and the Cardiff Capital City Deal. Cardiff University and the ONS are committed to bringing their collective capacity and expertise to enhance the data ecosystem in South East Wales.

It builds on many years of close working between Cardiff University and the ONS, which has already seen Cardiff students take part in developing new data science techniques that aim to inform top government decisions. The new partnership places a strong emphasis on developing skills, career pathways and creating graduate opportunities.

Professor Colin Riordan, Vice Chancellor of Cardiff University, yesterday said:

“I am delighted to be formally launching this new chapter in our relationship with the ONS. While much good work has gone on over the years, our strategic partnership enables us to be more co-ordinated and focused as an institution in how we plan and collaborate, delivering longer-term impact and outcomes.

“Data science is a theme that I look forward to seeing develop through the partnership. This will contribute to the growing expertise and capability in data science in South Wales, strengthening the region’s data assets and unlocking their potential.”

John Pullinger, the UK’s National Statistician, yesterday said:

“We work with universities across the UK to share expertise and make sure we are working with leading academics when it comes to creating new statistical insights on the issues which matter most. We already have many close links with Cardiff and are looking forward to enhancing how we work together with the university to inspire the next generation of analysts and policymakers.

“This partnership creates the potential to add further value to ONS’s significant presence in South Wales. Newport is well established as the home of UK economic statistics and with around 2,000 employees based in our office there, we are now one of the area’s biggest employers. We will continue to develop our people’s skills as we harness the power of data to help Britain make better decisions.”

The scope of the five-year partnership will continue to evolve over time, but will include closer sharing of facilities, resources and expertise, co-developing events and activities to promote data use as part of decision-making in public policy, and new research collaborations that improve understanding on topics such as healthy ageing, economic intelligence and education and skills.

Background notes

  1. The ONS Reader in Data Science for Public Good is a new position and will be advertised shortly.
  2. Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research-intensive universities. The 2014 Research Excellence Framework ranked the University fifth in the UK for research excellence. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, Professor Sir Martin Evans. Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise encompasses: the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences; and the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, along with a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Cardiff’s flagship Research Institutes are offering radical new approaches to pressing global problems.
  3. ONS Newport is the home of the UK’s main economic indicators, including the employment figures, UK GDP and inflation. We also recently launched Europe’s first monthly estimates of GDP, from our base here in Wales. Over the past three years, new investment has enabled the development of the ONS Data Science Campus and with it, new apprenticeship opportunities for local people to train as data scientists, to work on improving our ability to give in-depth analysis and insight in our increasingly data-focused society. An innovative new set of faster indicators of economic activity were recently launched, that present closer-to-real-time insight into the state of the UK economy.

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