Our first Virtual CDAS Partner Engagement event

On the 24th September 2021, the Centre for Data Analytics and Society held its annual partner event online for the first time. Attended by academics from across the CDT institutions and representatives from partner organisations, the event proved a great opportunity for students to get together and share their work, catching up or in some cases meeting for the first time!

The event was planned and delivered by a selection of students from multiple cohorts and home institutions, working together under the guidance of CDT management to plan an engaging and enjoyable virtual conference. Students moving into Year 3 and 4 were split into theme groups and delivered lightning talks on aspects of their PhD projects, while students moving into Year 2 presented posters in a virtual networking space. You can view the posters at the bottom of this article.

Students gather in a virtual poster session in GatherTown
Instead of presenting in a physical space, students could view and present their research posters in a virtual room.

Representatives from the Department of Work & Pensions, Esri, Sheffield City Region, HERE Technologies and Geolytix joined the event to deliver presentations on their work and to participate in a panel discussing how data science is used in their field, and providing tips for PhD students looking to move into commercial or public sector work after graduating.

The event closed with a pub quiz in GatherTown, hosted by our student delivery group. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that next year, we’ll be able to celebrate another successful event in a real pub together!

Research posters presented by Year 2 students

Using Content And Sentiment Analysis To Understand Populism In Donald Trump’s Speeches- Ruth Neville

Text mining & sentiment analysis of Boris Johnson’s lockdown announcements- Nastazja Laskowski

Spanish house prices, What factors are important- Gladys Kenyon

Predicting strokes- Ron Bar-Ad

Predicting Outcomes of Apprenticeships Delivered within Sheffield City Region using Machine Learning- Shivani Sickotra

Police Twitter presence in the period after George Floyd’s death- Erica Kane

How Reliably Can Vivacity Cameras Count People- Mushtahid Salam

Green Homes Grant- Cameron Ward

Food choice patterns of primary school children -Ines Francois

Dimensionality Reduction for Identifying Valuable Airline Customers- Amy Jungmin Seo

A machine learning approach to understanding factors- Ellie Marfleet

 

Introducing our fourth student cohort

Hello! We are the fourth cohort of the CDT Data Analytics & Society program. Navigating our first semester on this integrated masters and PhD course has been a very different experience, but we have adapted successfully to online teaching. We have found it challenging as a cohort to connect, considering many of us have never even met in person!

Our first module was named Programming for Social Scientists with The University of Leeds. This was a two-week intensive module taught by Andy Turner who brought our group together, as well as equipping us with the necessary Python programming skills which our PhD projects will require. Even though this two-week intensive course tested our limits, we can all agree we gained valuable skills including introduction to Agent Based Modelling, creating our own website and learning how to use GitHub. We began our social research modules taught by our home universities – either Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool or Manchester. Since our undergraduate backgrounds varied from Mathematics to Psychology these modules introduced us to new ways of thinking, preparing us for undertaking our own research in the coming years.

We are excited to continue our journey of learning with the upcoming Data Science Studio module delivered by Dr. Daniel Arribas-Bel at The University of Liverpool. Although, sadly we cannot live and learn in Liverpool as many of us were expecting, we are still looking forward to supporting each other online.

We would also like to give a huge thank you to all the team members who have supported us and helped us to integrate into the Data Analytics & Society program. We are all looking forward to starting semester 2 in January!

Article by Cameron Ward (University of Liverpool) & Shivani Sickotra (University of Sheffield)

 

CDT students show excellence across the board in 2019 Partner Event

 

The 3rd year student organisers of the second CDT partner event are happy to report on a successful day. The event was hosted again by the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA) and while the essence of the day was similar to last year, this year saw the addition of mini masterclasses to the bill. The academic staff and student attendees from the four CDT institutions were again joined by representatives from partner organisations and got a glimpse of the work being undertaken by students.

Professor Mark Birkin, LIDA Director, opened proceedings with a short welcome speech before handing over to University of Liverpool’s Professor Alex Singleton who chaired the day’s first session of individual lightning talks by 3rd year students. These replaced last year’s group presentations and provided a 3 – 4-minute snapshot of the research conducted for master’s dissertations or first papers. These bite sized presentations highlighted the range of research areas and skills being used, from assessing the impact of the weather on high street retail to examining inequalities in cycling participation. Students took questions after their talks and thanks to Dr Mark Taylor from the University of Sheffield asking us for our take home message, we all now have an elevator pitch of our work.

This year’s poster session was taken on by the 2nd year students with feedback highlighting their excellent knowledge and enthusiasm for their work. Examples of work completed for core modules could be seen in posters detailing the use of web scraping and text analysis. (You can view the event posters here!) Again, the variety of topics and analysis methods on show highlights the diverse range of projects undertaken. There truly is something for everybody on the CDT.

The partner event was timed to coincide with the Introduction to Programming module, the first of the MSc, and we were joined at lunch by the new cohort of students. You hit the ground running with this module, particularly if you’re new to coding, so this year’s lunch was extended to include a Q&A session hosted by Dr Eleri Pound (Centre Manager) to cover any questions or queries the new students had. A range of questions were submitted and 2nd and 3rd year students were able to pass on words of advice, encouragement and to hopefully alleviate any concerns.

The day’s final session was the mini masterclass. There was the option to sign up to one of three masterclasses; academic publishing, networking or public engagement. Feedback shows that attendees of each of the classes found them helpful and informative. The event overall was enjoyed by everybody, with comments showing that people found it interesting and engaging. Remember to follow our twitter page, @DataCDT, to stay in touch with CDT students as we continue to work at the cutting edge of our subject areas.

Written by Melanie Green, Noelynn Onah & Rhiannon Thomas.

CDAS first Annual Partner Event

On the 18th September, the Centre for Data Analytics and Society held its first annual partner event at the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA). Attended by academics from across the CDT institutions and representatives from partner organisations, the event proved a great opportunity for networking and for the students to share what’s been keeping them so busy in their first year.

The event was opened by LIDA Director, Professor Mark Birkin, who was key to the establishment of the CDT. It was then over to the students from each of the CDT institutions at the Universities of Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield. The students gave group presentations showcasing their learnings from the MSc modules, experiences of working with partners during internship projects, and how they’d already started applying their new data skills to their PhD topics. With research areas ranging from health to crime, transport, retail and more, the students displayed a broad use of data science techniques such as clustering and text analysis, including some ‘just for fun’ projects like Keiran’s analysis of Pokémon characteristics. The presentations gave a real flavour of the interdisciplinary nature of the CDT and a clear sense of collegiality was on show.

Marking the completion of the first year for the Data Analytics and Society CDT, the event also provided an opportunity for feedback and discussion from student, academic and partner perspectives. We’re excited that the ideas raised during the event have led to the launch of our new @DataCDT twitter page and the set-up of thematic interest groups to promote collaboration and knowledge-share across the institutions. We feel that this is especially important now that the CDT has grown in number, having recently welcomed a brand-new cohort of first year students.

Having completed day two of the Introduction to Programming module in Python, the new student cohort later joined the event for an informal poster and networking session. This was a chance to view academic posters prepared by each of the current students and to ask questions about their work and experiences so far, which seemed to fuel excitement and settle nerves in equal measure among the new students.

As the CDT enters its second year, we’re excited to work with new academics and partners and to see ongoing projects progress. A number of our students have already been getting out to share their preliminary research findings at conferences nationally and overseas. So, watch this space and follow our twitter page to stay in touch with our CDT students as they continue to work at the cutting edge of their subject areas.

Vicki Jenneson

Presentations from the students are below and posters from this event can be found on this page – https://datacdt.org/meet-the-students/student-posters2018/

CDAS Leeds presentation

CDAS Sheffield presentation

CDAS Manchester Presentation

CDAS Liverpool presentation

Centre for Data Analytics and Society welcomes its second cohort of students

We are the second cohort of the Data Analytics and Society CDT funded by the ESRC based in the University of Leeds; Maria, Debbie, Sedar, Caroline, Colin and Lena. The other CDT students are spread over the other partner universities, the University of Sheffield, the University of Manchester and the University of Liverpool. For us at Leeds, projects cover a wide range of topics, from energy footprints to consumer data for health, cycling infrastructure, data assimilation challenges and development of policy simulations. For this we have teamed up with partners including Improbable, CycleStreets and Dietary Assessment Ltd.

Mimicking the first cohort’s structure, we began with an intensive programming for social sciences module using python. This was taught at Leeds and is part of the integrated MSc. It was a great introduction to python for those who have not used this programming language previously and a refresher for those who have. This module set us off to a good start into our studies and we consider it a significant stepping stone towards further skill development.

Starting new programmes can be difficult, but with Vicki, Annabel, Jennie, Fran, Eugeni, Ryan, Keiran and the rest of the LIDA staff guiding us through our first few weeks here, we have been able to settle into our places at the university and LIDA easily. We look forward to what these next few years will bring.

New year, new challenges: The data CDT goes to Manchester

Hi, we’re Noelyn, Jen, Oliver and Chris, the first Manchester cohort of the Data Analytics and Society CDT. We are based within the Social Statistics department at Manchester but are also part of the Data Science Institute; comprised of over 600 researchers and methodologists across the Science and Engineering; Humanities; and Biology, Medicine and Health Sciences faculties.

At Manchester, our partner organisations are the market research and data analytics firm YouGov; Medical Data Solutions and Services and the Burns and Plastic Surgery Service at the University Hospital South Manchester; The Greater Manchester Health and Social Care partnership; and the Vegetarian Society. It’s exciting to be part of a cohort working on diverse projects ranging from examining and predicting political attitudes by combining survey and social media data; using machine learning to predict and classify healthcare outcomes; developing data science methods of evaluating the impacts of devolving healthcare spending; and using survey and social media data to explore social and psychological influences on dietary choices.

While our research is still in its early stages, we are looking forward to carrying out internships at our partner organisations in the next couple of months and putting the data skills and knowledge we’ve been developing as part of the CDT into practice in a ‘real world’ context.

Recently all the CDT PhD students from Leeds, Sheffield, and Liverpool travelled to Manchester for the Understanding Data and Their Environment module. With Professor Mark Elliot from the Data Science Institute and Dr Nuno Pinto from Urban Design and Urban Planning, over a week we explored issues relating to data anonymisation and deidentification processes, security and disclosure control and the complex legal and ethical issues surrounding these.

Later in the week, with guidance from Dr Yu-wang Chen from the Alliance Manchester Business School we also learned a lot about data pre-processing methods, different approaches to linking databases and strategies for dealing with some of the inherent difficulties in data integration.  We then had the opportunity to put our newfound skills into practise in group exercises looking at sales forecasting and classification for business analytics and combining socioeconomic data to look at factors which may affect life expectancy in London. Overall it was a challenging but enjoyable week – it was great to catch up with CDT students from the other universities and share our experiences of being PhD students so far, so we’re looking forward to the next CDT module in Liverpool in March.