Cardiff’s Data Innovation Accelerator (DIA) was set up to respond to demand from small companies in Wales to access the University’s expertise in data science research. The Accelerator staff team launched the project in June. Catherine Roderick, DIA Project Manager in the School of Computer Science & Informatics, explains how the DIA works.
“How do we help businesses get the most out of their data? Our Directors, Pete Burnap and Roger Whitaker, were successful last year in winning a £1.8M grant from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through Welsh Government, which sits alongside investment from the University to fund the DIA for the next two and half years.
The ERDF investment has been made because Welsh Government supports the idea that using data science to support innovation in small companies – for example, to develop a new product that can be sold to customers or to improve the efficiency of an in-house process – is a secure and high-potential route to strengthening businesses and therefore strengthening the Welsh economy.
For companies, we offer a free ‘data innovation health check’, which shows how data science techniques could be applied to its data to help it do something new or do better something it already does.
The health check also indicates at what stage of the data science journey the company is, and what the best next steps are in order to move forward. This might be something as simple as collecting more or a wider range of a particular kind of data or even a recommendation for a collaborative R&D project with us.
For the companies that we do a collaborative project with, is the opportunity to play an active role in a research project (and companies shouldn’t be deterred if they don’t have an ‘R&D department’ or any staff with ‘research’ in their job title!) that directly addresses a company challenge or business need.
It’s exciting stuff: rapid projects that utilise the wide-ranging skills of the DIA data science team and the expertise of the wider Cardiff University academic staff and which are driven by the needs and interests of the company, whether they be finding better ways to target marking content at potential customers, predictive analytics for sales forecasting and lead generation, bespoke dashboards and visualisation of real-time customer data, or one of many, many other possibilities.
The DIA is part of a growing data science community within the University, sitting alongside the new Data Science Academy, the Data Innovation Research Institute and Supercomputing Wales, to name but a few.
We’re open for business and want to talk to companies based in one of our target areas. Why not take a look at our website for details and get in touch? We are here to help.”