How Universities and Big Business are Solving Big Data Problems Together

How Universities and Big Business are Solving Big Data Problems Together

How Universities and Big Business are Solving Big Data Problems Together
Scott graduated from Cardiff University with a degree in English Literature and a diploma in Magazine Journalism. He has a keen interest in disruptive tech, sport and the media.

With the rise of big data and the lack of data scientists in the market, businesses are reaching out to academia more and more to help solve some of their thorniest technical problems.

In theory, it is a match made in heaven. Academics want interesting problems to solve and businesses have plenty of them when it comes to making use of their new-found reams of big data. In a world where data scientists are the scarcest of resources, partnerships between universities and businesses are helping to plug the data science skills gap.

Alice Jacques, senior data scientist, consumer insight at Channel 4 summed it up during her talk at the DataIQ conference in London last month. “Businesses have data and real problems, academics have experts and teaching capacity,” she explained.

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The benefits for both sides are clear to see: industry gets cheap access to data science talent and universities can tout industry experience to attract students, boost funding and help with their rankings.

Professor Patrick Wolfe from University College London (UCL) told Computerworld UK that he sees universities moving away from the “old-fashioned ivory tower model” as they look to engage with society more.

Wolfe believes that by linking arms with big business, universities have an opportunity to “apply new ideas immediately”.

“If I wanted to work on a network 30 years ago there wouldn’t have been much data to work on,” he added. “What has happened now is there is a natural bridge.”

Jacques from Channel 4 said the media company worked with two UCL PhD and four master’s students on a soon-to-be released Netflix-style recommendation engine for its on-demand service All4.

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