Trustworthy data science

Data is being created at an unprecedented pace, but if we can’t trust the data, how can it have a real and lasting impact on our lives? 

Our Institute for Analytics and Data Science boasts a new approach, exploring the relationship between humans, data and technology with trustworthiness at its core. 

Drawing on expertise across a wealth of disciplines, this radical new concept is leading to impactful research and data science solutions that people trust. 

Changing world of data

Since the Institute for Analytics and Data Science (IADS) was established ten years ago it has provided a unique perspective, connecting academics with businesses, health trusts, local authorities and the government to unlock the power of data so it can be used in impactful, new and exciting ways. 

During that time, the IADS’ vision – to use analytics and data science to develop lasting solutions that transform the world for the benefit of individuals and communities – has become as important as ever.  

IADS has been at the forefront of data science and analytics, with its researchers working on tackling some of the biggest challenges around data science including the development of new methods for dealing with “big data”, the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to improve and simplify organisational operations through better use of data, and the development of ground-breaking algorithms that improve data analytics.

But the data landscape has changed dramatically since IADS began.

Data is now, more than ever, central to all human activities, from socialising and communicating to healthcare and travel, with more and more being created, stored and shared across the globe.

This ever-increasing digital footprint has brought many advantages to our societies, but also poses new challenges.

This new reality means that we can no longer focus solely on the technological challenges of data science, we need to clearly also understand the relevant social challenges including ethical, privacy and legal issues around data and the technologies used to store, handle and analyse it.   

Buildings on Colchester Camopus

“The IADS multi-disciplinary approach allows us to break intellectual boundaries and provide answers to challenging societal questions around data, and it builds on Essex’s ethos of being bold and looking at how we can do things differently.” 

Professor Haris Mouratidis
Director, Institute for Analytics and Data Science (IADS)

Prof Haris Mouratidis Prof Haris Mouratidis

The Essex way

Members of the IADS team sitting  around a white table

Essex has been uniquely placed to respond to the new challenges of this data revolution. For more than half a century Essex has been the home of leading experts in analytics and data science. 

Harnessing the opportunities and challenges of the data revolution requires a rounded approach.

Bringing together more than 200 data science experts from across our faculties, IADS is providing answers to challenging societal questions.

It has developed a new strategy which recognises the only way to respond to these challenges is through a radical new socio-technical data science approach that explores the relationship between humans, data and technology and introduces trustworthiness at the centre to ensure impactful research and data science solutions people trust.

This new strategy is already seeing results, through research and knowledge transfer in new areas for IADS such as minimizing energy consumption and CO2 emissions, improving data science and AI trustworthiness - through reducing so-called "hallucinations in Large Language Models (LLMs)" which produce untrustworthy results - developing security by designing solutions to improve user trust to data and "federated learning” approaches to enhance privacy

Offering bespoke solutions for businesses

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"Our KTP with the University of Essex has helped kick start a data science function within G's, allowing us to answer questions we couldn't previously explore." 

James Green, Group Director of Agriculture, G'sGrowers 


IADS experts help businesses drive innovation, productivity and competitiveness and provide new customer insights to help them deliver better services. 

It has engaged with businesses through many projects, including more than 15 Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) in the past six years, to improve their understanding of data science and increase their capability and operations.

Funded by Innovate UK and Research Councils, these highly-competitive KTPs are an established and successful initiative to drive innovation and growth through the transfer of expertise from a university to an external business.

In the world of health care, IADS is developing data science-driven systems and algorithms to support important projects such as better detection of skin cancer and prediction of tooth decay.  

Its experts are also developing novel techniques that improve analysis of cyber security and privacy threats to ensure our critical infrastructures remain secure and can continue to support our daily activities.   

Collaboration is key

IADS has developed new partnerships with organisations which share its vision to maximise the opportunities of this data revolution.

The innovative Essex Centre for Data Analytics (ECDA) – a partnership between the University Essex County Council and Essex Police – tackles complex challenges such as domestic abuse and knife crime through collaboration in data science.

ECDA uses data from multiple partners, according to the highest ethical standards, to understand problems affecting the people of Essex, and it works with our researchers and government analysts to find insights and knowledge in their data.

Working with Essex and Suffolk county councils via the Catalyst Project, IADS experts used cutting-edge scientific methods to assess risks for vulnerable residents and provide evaluation techniques to fully understand the impact of council initiatives.

Partnering with data science networks such as the Alan Turing Institute and TAILOR, which is developing trustworthy AI, allows Essex researchers to further engage with the international community.   

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Person pointing to data on PC screen

"By working with AI experts in image recognition, machine learning and algorithm development from Essex, we plan to harness both academic excellence and industry expertise to build an AI model that replicates the clinical excellence of our current skin cancer model."

Professor Gordon Wishart, Chief Medical Officer Check4Cancer

Training the next generation of data scientists

We need to build capacity to ensure the future generation of data scientists have the right skills to deal with the real-world challenges and opportunities around data.

As a pioneer in data analytics and data science, Essex has a long and proud history of passing on our ground-breaking research and data analytics expertise by training the next generation of data scientists and analysts.

We offer flexible education and training programmes to suit the needs of different organisations and their staff.

Data science skills are evolving as data science is developing to meet the demands of technology, business and society and we have worked towards addressing any shortfall of data skills through the development of a data science summer school and many other initiatives.

We are meeting our commitment to increase data science capacity in the region and boost economic growth.

We are also having a global impact with our UNESCO Chair in Analytics and Data Science Professor Maria Fasli addressing the acute data science skills shortage in developing and transitioning countries and to ensure the benefits of the data revolution reach all walks of society. 

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“By improving people’s data literacy, along with access to and understanding of data, we can empower citizens to positively contribute to the governance of their country and transform the economies of developing and transitioning countries into strong, self-reliant digital and knowledge economies.”

Professor Maria Fasli
UNESCO Chair in Analytics and Data Science

Prof Maria Fasli Prof Maria Fasli

Find out more

PhD student studying at Essex

Institute for Analytics and Data Science

IADS provides real-world, data-empowered solutions that are not only ethical, but trustworthy too.

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Training the next generation of data scientists

Essex has a long history of training the next generation of data scientists.

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