£10m data science campus to improve public sector information

A new data science campus in Wales will  aim to provide better data for the Office for National Statistics, the government has announced.

This week’s budget announced more than £10m for the project to create the centre at the ONS’ current office in Newport.

The facility will aim to use techniques to change the way data is managed, using techniques including web scraping to provide real time monitoring of the UK economy and labour market.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Matt Hancock said: “Data is the fuel on which we can make the best and strongest decisions for the public. The very best policies and services are developed around information that’s current, relevant and accessible.

“Official statistics shine a light on how our economy is performing, but by doing so inform policy decisions of government and businesses which affect the lives of millions of people across the UK.”

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The new Data Science Campus and Economics Centre of Excellence will create at least 30 highly skilled roles and help to build new technology skills within the existing workforce.

The government has also welcomed a review of UK economic statistics carried out by professor Sir Charles Bean.

The report called for the ONS to improve its capacity to measure the impact of the digital economy.

Wales Office Minister Alun Cairns said: “Wales is developing an international reputation as a centre for innovation in technology, and the new data science hub will be a fantastic enhancement to that.”

Colin Marrs

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