The Office for National Statistics (ONS) Data Science Campus and 10 Downing Street’s data science team (10DS) have created a joint fellowship scheme to put research, ideas, and technologies from the frontier of data science to use for the public good. We are pleased to announce that the Data Science Fellowship Scheme’s inaugural two Fellows have been selected as Dr Robin Lovelace and Dr Federico Botta.

Both Fellows will spend a year collaborating with the ONS and 10DS on projects using new and existing linked administrative datasets to produce analysis to inform policy. The Fellows will also help to build data science capability across the UK’s public sector.

This scheme, which strengthens engagement between the public sector and academia, has been made possible thanks to funding from The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and Administrative Data Research (ADR UK). The Fellows will now work closely with 10DS and the ONS’ Data Science Campus to formulate research projects before starting their secondments on 1 January 2022.

Dr Arthur Turrell, Deputy Director at the ONS’ Data Science Campus said: “I am extremely excited about the creation of these prestigious data science fellowships, and that No. 10 and the ONS – plus the many departments we work with – will be benefitting from Robin and Federico’s extensive expertise. The potential for data science to deliver for the public good is enormous and these fellowships provide another channel for methods from the frontier of that field to address the most pressing issues in public policy.”

Alex Jones, Head of Evidence and Transformation (10DS) at 10 Downing Street said: “The UK’s universities are home to world-class data science skills and talent. We are seeing ever-increasing demand for this expertise in government, and I’m delighted that through this scheme, No.10, as well as the ONS and other departments will be able to benefit from the specialist expertise of Federico and Robin.”

Introducing the Fellows

Robin Lovelace is an Associate Professor of Transport Data Science at the University of Leeds' Institute of Transport Studies. He researches, develops, and teaches free, open and scalable techniques for working with data to support evidence-based policies. Robin has written many papers and books on transport planning, energy, geographic data analysis and modelling. His interests include geo-computation, transport modelling and geographic data analysis. Robin is a Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s national institute for data science and artificial intelligence.

Federico Botta is a lecturer in data science at the University of Exeter. He studies human behaviour at the individual and collective levels using novel data streams, such as those derived from the internet and our use of digital technologies. He uses tools from data science, network theory and behavioural and computational social sciences to analyse large datasets and investigate different aspects of human behaviour and urban environments. As well as serving as an academic editor for the academic journal PLOS ONE, he acts as a reviewer for several international journals. Federico is also a Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute.

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