Here at LIDA, 2023 has certainly been a fascinating year for data science and particularly AI.
One of our key developments as an Institute this year has been the official formation of our Research Communities and Programmes after a soft launch in 2022. The groups have really started coming together and it’s brilliant to see the conversations unfolding and connections being made as a result. I am confident that great research and learnings will arise from this.
Some specific headline research proposals that we have played a supporting role in include the National Institute for Health & Care Research Leeds Biomedical Research Centre (£13m), DynAIRx (£850k) and the MAVIS project (£570k; you can read more about these in our Research and Innovation section of the showcase.
Of course, with all of these fast-paced changes comes a huge responsibility to ensure that data, and its access, curation and use, remain safe, secure and ethical. So, it comes as no surprise that another key area is the policy and technology that wraps around the research that we and our partner’s conduct. This is why our unique, in-house Trusted Research Environment, LASER, has played such an important role in the universities’ research and innovation this year. The capacity and capability of this resource has enabled multiple teams, both internal and external, to collaborate on sensitive data from sources such as the NHS, the police and supermarket retailers. The platform is also growing, with access being expanded nationwide and the skills and support offered by the Data Analytics Team constantly evolving. This, together with the AI policy created by the central university team, makes us the trustworthy and reliable institute our researchers and partners require.
Our education and training has also made huge strides this year with the offering of new data science courses and the opportunity to study online, as well as scholarships to improve equity, diversity and inclusion in the future data science and AI workforce. Our award-winning Data Scientist Development Programme (DSDP) continues to grow with familiar partners returning to us for more projects and brand new organisations that have heard of our work and want to make use of our fantastic early-career researchers to advance their insights for public good.
After celebrating five years of partnership with the Alan Turing Institute on behalf of the University of Leeds, we were delighted to secure this further and join the new Turing University Network for stronger links with our fellow academics across the UK. It’s such a privilege to be connected to this key institution and pivotal in the current AI climate, we’re looking forward to seeing the progress from our Turing fellows, interest group leaders and those on the enrichment schemes this coming year.
Clearly, none of the above could have been achieved without the hard work and dedication of the LIDA team across Operations, Data Analytics, Research and Innovation and Communications, thank you for all your efforts. Expanding the team further, we have this year welcomed our newest members Kylie Norman, DSDP Co-ordinator who has officially moved over from the Consumer Data Research Centre following her success with the DSDP over the past few years. Jodi Gunning also joins us as our new Research and Innovation Development Officer. Jodi was previously Research Project Manager for the School of Geography working on Horizon Europe projects on sustainable agriculture and with water@leeds on regional flood management.
We’re delighted to see so many of you in the LIDA office, working, collaborating and attending our 40+ data science events this year and hope to see many more of you in 2024 as we enter our 10th year of data science for societal benefit here at Leeds Institute for Data Analytics.