Uncategorised / Wednesday, 15 May, 2019

University partners with CBI to unveil major new report focussed on data-driven business innovation


Advanced data analytics is opening up a “new frontier” for business research and development (R&D), according to a new report from the University of Leeds and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

Revealing that businesses are facing unprecedented advances in data-driven technologies, the report also outlines the vital role that universities play in helping harness the power of data.

The report, The Changing Nature of R&D, will be the focus of discussion today at the formal opening of Nexus, a new business innovation hub that enables businesses to connect with the expertise, talent and facilities at the University of Leeds.

Vital role for universities 


Professor Lisa Roberts, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research & Innovation at the University of Leeds, said: “The CBI/Nexus report shows the extraordinary opportunities for UK businesses to harness data for R&D, as well as the vital role universities have to play in supporting innovation and productivity.

“Unlocking this potential will supercharge R&D and that’s why we’re making a step-change at Leeds in how we work with business. This is what Nexus is all about – giving businesses seamless access to this support. There has never been a better time for universities and businesses to collaborate.”



The CBI has called on the Government to spur R&D growth, suggesting vital research and development spending is more than two decades behind the UK’s growth target.

Felicity Burch, CBI Director of digital and innovation, said: “The Government must speed up its effort to hit the 2.4% target or the UK is at risk of falling further behind. Advanced data analytics are opening up a new frontier for UK R&D – to ensure we benefit, we must have a comprehensive roadmap underpinned by a boost in public funding to spur growth in UK R&D investment.”


Harnessing the power of data 

One of the case studies featured in the national report outlines a Consumer Data Research Centre led- project with Asda, delivered to support its sustainability strategy.


Working with the University’s Consumer Data Research Centre, Asda gained greater insight into customer’s attitudes and purchasing behaviours, to help shoppers to reduce their food waste.”The results of our project with the University were fantastic”, said Laura Babbs, Sustainability Manager at Asda, “with two million customers making changes in their home and benefiting from an average saving of £57 per year.”

“Not only have we come away with real, measurable insight from shoppers but we’ve also seen the direct correlation between our recommended actions and tangible behavioural change.” // Professor William Young, Consumer Data Research Centre, University of Leeds

Supporting the region

Beckie Hart, CBI Yorkshire and Humber Regional Director, said: “Businesses are sitting on a mountain of valuable data but many are grappling with what steps to take to exploit its value. Striking up partnerships with universities is one way to bring in talent, make use of state-of-the-art facilities and conduct cutting-edge research.

“It’s encouraging to see this region leading the way with the opening of Nexus,” she added. “Setting up more collaborative initiatives will mean the UK can be at the forefront of harnessing the latest trends in innovation and remain a great place to do business.”

Further information

Read more about the University teams working together to help businesses to thrive, innovate and grow.