NEWS16 October 2023

‘Smart data’ programme funded by UKRI

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UK – The government’s public body for innovation, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), is to invest £59m in Smart Data Research UK (SDR UK), an initiative focused on new forms of data for researchers.

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The six-year research project aims to offer researchers safe access to so-called ‘smart data’, which includes data generated through engagement with digital systems, devices and sensors, including mobile apps, digital transactions and social media.

SDR UK (formerly Digital Footprints) will form partnerships with organisations that hold data, such as supermarkets, financial services, tech companies and online retailers, with data de-identified and made available to ‘approved researchers’.

SDR UK is part of the UKRI Infrastructure Fund, which aims to support the facilities, equipment and resources needed by researchers. SDR UK is managed by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) as part of its data infrastructure strategy.

The scheme will build on previous investments in this area, including the Consumer Data Research Centre and the Urban Big Data Centre.

ESRC executive chair Stian Westlake said: “In the last decade there has been an explosion in the volume and variety of data. Smart Data Research UK is embarking on an ambitious programme to unlock, organise and champion safe access to smart data. It will build partnerships to demonstrate responsible practices, champion engagement and safeguard public trust.”