Statistical Science


Data Detectives 2022

We are delighted to announce that our Data Detectives event for Year 12/S5 students will be running again in June 2022. This is a free online event for state school students studying Mathematics.

Programme outline

A live online data challenge hosted by University College London, 20 – 24 June 2022

Magnifying glass with the word "Data"

Whodunnit? This is the famous question posed to detectives from Sherlock Holmes to Luther. Finding out usually involved a mix of creativity, skill and curiosity. 

Getting to the bottom of the data is no different. With the help of academics and students from University College London, you’ll be the detective, tackling real-life mysteries like the differences in happiness between countries or the value of a new film release. You’ll work on a project online in small teams. We’ll give you the data and you’ll bring the questions. Just like a detective, to solve the case you'll need to form hypotheses of what you think is really going on behind the data and gather your suspected statistics.

Can money really buy you happiness? Do films released at Christmas have better Oscar chances? With expert support for each team, we will teach you how to follow leads and interrogate the data till it talks. You’ll learn how to explore data, unearth insights and reveal patterns, with the help of professional software to summarise and visualise data.

Each day you’ll build your knowledge with streamed demonstrations, covering data analysis techniques and skills used in Data Science, statistics, data visualisation and even AI. The game is afoot!


To take part in this event, you must be:

  • in Year 12 (England/Wales/Northern Ireland) or S5 (Scotland),
  • studying A-Level Maths or equivalent, and
  • attending a non-selective state school in the UK.

Data Detectives is an online event, running 20 - 24 June 2022 from 9.30AM to 12PM daily.

Applications are now open. The deadline for applications is 5pm on Friday 10 June 2022 (new extended deadline). Successful applicants will be contacted shortly thereafter via email.


Frequently asked questions

What do I need?

To participate, you will need access to a laptop and a stable internet connection for steaming video.

Is there anything I need to know or revise before attending?

As long as you’re studying A-Level Maths or equivalent, you don’t need to complete any work before attending. Come along and enjoy!

Do I need to attend the whole event?

Consecutive sessions build on one another, so it is highly advisable to attend the whole event. If you know in advance that you cannot attend parts of the event, please contact Dr Alexander Watson to discuss this.

What will I be doing?

You will be working on a dataset in a group. Most participants won’t know each other at the start so we’ll allocate you to a group. You will have dedicated current UCL undergraduate student ambassadors helping your group at all times. You will learn to programming using the R language (don’t worry if you’ve never coded before: we will assume that you haven’t and there is no need to learn any R beforehand). 

The event is running in a school week. What do I do?

Please speak to a teacher and to a parent/carer before you apply, to ensure that you're able to attend during school time.