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UCL and Elsevier launch the UCL Big Data Institute

18 December 2013

UCL and Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, today announced they will establish the UCL Big Data Institute.

It is a new collaboration to explore innovative ways to better serve needs of researchers through the exploration of new technologies and analytics as applied to scholarly content and data.

Elsevier believes linking analytics and scientific content is one of the key enablers to better serve scientists and the company will fund research and studentships through the new Institute, offering exciting new opportunities to research the analysis, use and storage of big data.

The new Institute will complement Elsevier’s recent acquisition of Mendeley, a company that operates a global research management and collaboration platform in the heart of east London’s tech start-up community, and Elsevier’s recent investment into building a London-based world-class web analytics group. Elsevier will establish a Centre of Excellence within the web analytics group in connection with the Institute, co-staffed with UCL researchers looking at areas outlined earlier. This will offer employment as well as commercialisation activities in collaboration with UCL Business and UCL Consultants.

UCL has a wide range of other research activities and joint initiatives within the broad and expanding area of big data and research analytics. To fully realise the synergy between these initiatives through the sharing of insights and resources, UCL is developing a Research Domain for “e-Research”. UCL plans to have a connected community, from particle physics to digital humanities, sharing insights into better use of large computational resources in research. The Big Data Institute will be a key addition to that family of activities.

UCL will have access to Elsevier's world-class research data and enterprise-level technology, opening up new research possibilities with a broad range of applications. One such proven, open source big data technology, HPCC, is being used by Elsevier in the ScienceDirect platform, and across Elsevier’s parent company.

UCL President and Provost, Professor Michael Arthur, said: “The UCL Big Data Institute will keep us at the forefront of addressing pressing issues around the storage of big data, the curation of scientific information, and the production, disclosure and consumption of research information. UCL and Elsevier inevitably have complementary interests in many aspects of research dissemination and will both together and independently continue to develop these for the good of the global research effort.”

Ron Mobed, Elsevier Chief Executive, said: "This is a significant investment by Elsevier in UK science, in an area where we have outstanding expertise, and in a collaboration with a world-leading institution. Our aim is to help scientists do better research and do it faster.”

Rt Hon David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science, who attended the launch event at UCL, said: "Big data is one of the eight great technologies. It has the potential to play a crucial role supporting the growth of the UK economy. It’s estimated that the big data market will create up to 58,000 new UK jobs by 2017. Collaborations such as the one between University College London and Elsevier are vital if we are to take full advantage of the big data revolution and stay ahead in the global race."

Further information on the partnership and the wider relationship between UCL and Elsevier can be found here.

If you have specific questions and comments, please contact Professor David Price, Vice-Provost for Research, at d.price@ucl.ac.uk.