The two institutions have signed an agreement that will see the Leeds-based retailer and the University’s Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA) work together on a range of research projects.
As part of the official partnership, data scientists at LIDA will work in collaboration with Asda to gain further understanding of customers’ habits and preferences, in order to inform decisions such as future store locations and improve the efficiency of food supply chains.
The agreement will cement a relationship that drives forward world-class research to provide wide-ranging social benefits and will help to inform food strategies on a city and national level, including ongoing efforts to make healthier and more sustainable food choices more accessible.
James Morgan, Senior Director of Data Management and Information Strategy at Asda, said: “We are keen to explore the opportunities this partnership will offer both Asda and LIDA.
“Bringing together research data and retail expertise from both of our organisations will allow us to explore the real world challenges our customers currently face.
“By modelling environmental and social governance opportunities, we will have the ability to test new ideas and techniques ahead of establishing wider programmes to deliver even better outcomes for customers.”
Professor Birkin said: “Addressing global challenges for some of society’s most pressing problems, such as healthy living and sustainable diets, requires collaborative innovation between academic institutions and real world partners.
“To this end, the University of Leeds and Asda have worked closely together for many years on a wide variety of projects.
“We are delighted by this opportunity to mobilise the world-leading expertise of both organisations in consumer behaviour, nutrition and lifestyle analytics to accelerate research with extreme social and economic importance.”
The partnership follows a series of collaborations between Asda and the University, including:
LIDA data scientist Ann Onuselogu, who took part in the inaugural Hackathon, said: “It was a great experience that allowed me to witness internal networking and knowledge sharing between different departments in Asda.
“As an external participant, I did not have access to the data but I was able to contribute to team discussions and learn a significant amount about data science research in food retail.
“The Hackathon’s emphasis on ethical data science, simple solutions, explainable results, and innovative methods was very insightful for an early career data scientist like myself.”