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One of the family

14 October 2013

one for the family

Swansea University, in partnership with Cardiff University, is among five grant recipients in the first phase of a £64 million funding investment by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to support the development of a UK-wide network of innovative centres to strengthen the UK's competitive advantage in Big Data.

The announcement of the new Administrative Data Research Network (ADRN), which will form the core of the ESRC Big Data family, was made recently by Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science, during the Mountbatten Memorial Lecture at The Royal Institution in London.

Mr Willetts said: "Every day the world creates 2.5 quintillion bytes of data – equivalent to over 150,000 iPads worth of information. The power of computing in analysis of massive and mixed datasets will transform science and industry in the UK and through the creation of the Big Data Network and the ADRNs; we hope to be well placed to take competitive advantage of this great technology."

The ADRN, which came into being on October 1 and will run for an initial period of five years, is a partnership between Government departments, research funders, national statistical authorities and the research community, which will reach across the UK to facilitate research based upon linked, routinely collected administrative data.

The ADRN will be led by the Universities of Edinburgh, Queens University Belfast, Southampton, and Swansea, with the Administrative Data Service (ADS) to be based at the University of Essex.  Collectively, these four centres and one service will benefit from a grants package totalling approximately £34 million.

Professor Paul Boyle, Chief Executive of the ESRC, said: "We are delighted to have played a leading role in the development of the national ADRN, which will strengthen the UK's advantage in Big Data.

"The core aim, of the ADRN is to facilitate linkage of routinely collected administrative data, thereby stimulating opportunities for innovative research and policy-making.

"There will be benefits for researchers, government, local communities and the public – indeed; there is the potential for a revolution in our ability to answer a host of questions that were previously intractable."

The ADRN Wales will be led by Swansea University, in partnership with Cardiff University, under the direction of Professor David Ford, Institute of Life Science, College of Medicine, Swansea University.