A bit about us

We would like to introduce ourselves; Vicki, Annabel, Jennie, Fran, Eugeni, Ryan and Keiran, as the first Leeds cohort of the Data Analytics and Society CDT. The CDT is funded by the ESRC and consists of students not only from the University of Leeds, but also the Universities of Sheffield, Manchester and Liverpool. The Data Analytics and Society CDT will run for four years and aims to train postgraduate researchers from a variety of backgrounds including social science, computing, mathematics and natural sciences in data analytics. The programme not only involves completing a PhD but also includes an integrated Masters in data analytics and society during the first two years of the course alongside the PhD work, so if we all suddenly get up and leave we are probably off to a lecture or practical.

We are carrying out a range of projects using datasets from commercial partners which include Active Inspirations, Leeds City Council, Callcredit and leading supermarkets. Between us we aim to use this data for a wide variety of health, commercial, safety and transport applications. From predicting and understanding human urban dynamics to apply to civil emergencies and understanding transport choices with regards to climate change. To assessing loyalty cards as a dietary assessment tool and spatial interaction modelling of E-commerce in the grocery retail industry and the behaviours affecting it.  As well as predicting geodemographic segmentation throughout an individual’s lifetime, and using physical activity trackers to identify potential obesogenic habits and activities of individuals.

The First Few Weeks

As the CDT runs across four universities, as part of our masters, we all attend a week long module at each institution during our first year. Starting with the Leeds module in mid-September ‘Programming for Social Scientists’; a Python coding module run by Andy Evans. This was slightly daunting for a lot of the group with most people not having a coding background. However with Andy’s excellent teaching, and lots of coffee breaks, we managed to all build functioning agent based models and we were all still smiling on the Friday (as you can see in the photo above). Though we may have felt we were thrown in at the deep end with a week of python it was a great opportunity to meet the students from the other institutions. Helped by the delicious meal, and trip to the pub, organised by Eleri for the Monday evening allowing us to get to know each other better.

Having all met with our supervisors now and settled into LIDA, and cake Thursdays. We are now looking forward and starting to make exciting plans and goals for our future research as well as our next full-cohort module in Manchester this January.

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