Press release

Strategy positions UK as world leader on data science

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

A new strategy will ensure the UK is well placed to take advantage of the opportunities for using data.

A new strategy will ensure the UK is well placed to take advantage of the opportunities for using data, Universities and Science Minister David Willetts announced today (31 October 2013).

‘Seizing the Data Opportunity’ sets out plans to:

  • create a skilled workforce in data analytics
  • develop the UK’s data infrastructure that will allow access to high-end computing
  • and help data to be shared and linked to support ground-breaking research

A strong data infrastructure will position the UK as a world leader for the development of projects such as Smart Cities and the Internet of Things. These new innovations require specialised computing facilities to manage large data sets and are essential in developing new technologies such as transport management and specialised health care systems.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:

The next generation of innovation and scientific discovery will be data-driven. We need to ensure the UK does not get left behind and that we have the skills and infrastructure to handle data on a large scale and stay ahead in the global race. By supporting businesses, researchers and the public to make better use of data we will help them gain new insights so they can produce exciting new innovations.

Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Chairman of the Open Data Institute and member of the Information Economy Council said:

The UK, along with every other country on the planet, is now a data dependent society. In our data-driven age we must have a strategic approach to building our national data capability. The actions laid out in the public strategy support data infrastructure, data skills and data assets themselves. It is essential they are fully implemented.

Phil Dawson, CEO of Skyscape Cloud Services and member of the Information Economy Council said:

Gaining insight from data will become the key challenge of this century. Wealth creation, improved health and welfare outcomes, as well as wider society benefits, will be increasingly driven by effective use of data. Successful implementation of the proposed actions will strengthen the UK’s capability and support our wider leadership role.

‘Seizing the Data Opportunity’ forms part of the government’s ‘Information Economy Strategy’ which was published earlier this year (14 June 2013). The strategy is a joined up approach between government and industry, making sure that there is a clear plan for growth across the UK’s information infrastructure.

It is also being launched on the same day that the government publishes its National Action Plan as part of the Open Government Partnership. The action plan outlines the government’s work to date on transparency and accountability, including opening up public sector data.

Notes to editors

  1. A smart city uses intelligent technology to enhance our quality of life in urban environments. Cities can use the data in a variety of ways; to save money, minimise waste, measure domestic water usage and manage transport routes.

  2. The Internet of Things (IoT) describes the growing number of internet-enabled devices that can network and communicate with each other and with other web-enabled gadgets.

  3. The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set 4 ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.