The Data Science Institute at Lancaster University

Data Science Institute

We aim to set the global standard for a truly interdisciplinary approach to contemporary data-driven research challenges. Established in 2015, the Data Science Institute (DSI) has over 300 members and has raised over £37 million in research grants.

Research Themes

Latest News and Events

Research Software Engineering

Within the Data Science Institute, our aim is to improve the reproducibility and replicability of research by improving the reusability, sustainability and quality of research software developed across the University. We are currently funded by the N8CIR, and work closely with our partner institutions across N8 Research.

Research Software Engineering
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The Leipzig Symposium on Intelligent Systems (LEISYS) will be held next month - 27-28 April, 2023

Our growing LU Leipzig campus cordially invites all colleagues to join their third Leipzig Symposium on Intelligent Systems (LEISYS). You may join the event both physically on campus in Leipzig (Germany) and via Microsoft Teams on April 27-28 2023. After the great success of LEISYS 2021 and 2022, this follow-up conference will provide an another exciting update on cutting edge research and developments in the dynamic and diverse field of intelligent systems, including data-driven, cognitive and explorative systems. LEISYS 2023 will bring together researchers from a diverse set of backgrounds, facilitating discussions about applications and risks of intelligent systems, as well as methods to develop such systems. The expertise of the speakers at the symposium covers, among other topics, Machine Learning, Logic, Cognitive Systems, and Formal Methods. Anyone with an interest in computer science and intelligent systems can join and you are encouraged to share the event information with your network to spread the word.

We would like to cordially invite everyone at DSI who is interested to join us online and free of charge.

Register for the Leipzig Symposium on Intelligent Systems

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Get To Know Us event

We were delighted to see so many new and familiar faces at our Get To Know Us event last week! DSI is constantly evolving to suit members needs and respond to the research and funding landscape, and the event gave us a chance to present some of the recent changes within the different themes, including plans to spin up an all new theme on Engineering.

Stay tuned for developments on that front! It was great to meet in SkyLounge, the scones were perfect - we also got a chance to show off our fantastic Secure Data Science Infrastructure! Anyone who would like to learn more about that should contact Karen or Nigel directly - we would love our members to make the most of this resource. We also teased some events in the upcoming year, including some ideas for future retreats.

Funding for retreats will be announced soon via the DSI newsletter and website.

We see this event as the start of a conversation, and we look forward to hearing whether there is anything else the DSI should be offering to support you!

Do get in touch:

We are always happy to have new members sign up to DSI - please send the names of new colleagues to Julia Carradus who will ask the Leadership Team to confirm membership.

Staff members standing outside of the SafePod

Distinguished Speaker - Emma Gordon, Director, ADR UK & ADR England

Emma gave a fascinating talk to DSI on 2nd February

Her presentation slides are available via SharePoint

Title: Opening up access to administrative data for research: ESRC’s ADR UK programme

Summary: ESRC’s ADR UK programme is a partnership of government and academic groups across all four UK nations, led by ESRC. This programme is creating linked research datasets from administrative sources, making these available to researchers through the network of ADR UK Trusted Research Environments, and delivering research to meet government priorities for evidence. ADR UK ran as a pilot phase from 2018 to 2021, during which we have 1000s of researchers successfully accessing our data across the four nations of the UK. In collaboration with ONS (ADR UK’s major data infrastructure partner), ADR UK has also had real success in engaging with Whitehall departments. This means ADR UK is supporting not only the three devolved nations to meet their research needs, but also working collaboratively with UK Government departments to do the same. As a result these successes, ADR UK has been able to secure long-term funding through to 2026.

Administrative data is information collected by administrative systems across civil and public services. Although not generally collected for research purposes, it can be extremely valuable if used in this way, because it has such broad coverage of the population. ADR UK has worked with data owners across the UK to create linked administrative datasets covering a wide range of research themes, and all of this is accessible for research by people working within government as well as outside. Our remit not only to create linked administrative data assets and make these available to researchers, but to build relationships between academic researchers and government, to ensure the resulting research is useful to data owners and policy makers. This includes assessing the potential for carrying out evaluations of trials and policies, and facilitating those evaluations to be carried out.

Emma will highlight some of the flagship linked datasets that are now available to researchers across the UK, and illustrate the type of research that is now being carried out using them. These linked datasets cover themes from education outcomes, wage and employment, crime and justice, looked after children and the environment, with many more in the pipeline.

Biography: Dr Emma Gordon is Director of the ADR UK Strategic Hub and Director of ADR England. She is responsible for setting the strategic direction for the programme, leading on the coordination of the partnership and engagement with senior stakeholders, to improve access and analysis of administrative data to inform policy decisions. She is also part of the ADR UK Leadership Committee. Emma joined ADR UK from HM Treasury, where she led the team supporting government economists and social researchers across government. Prior to this, Emma was Head of Health Analysis at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), and at the start of her career was a post-doctoral researcher on the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children

Emma Gordon portrait

A SafePod has arrived in Lancaster!

What is a SafePod?

A SafePod is a standardised safe setting that provides the necessary security for a researcher to access sensitive datasets from participating Data Centres across the UK. The SafePod includes a door control access system, CCTV, a researcher area for the analysis of datasets and a separate secure storage area for IT equipment. The SafePod is also wheelchair accessible and includes a height adjustable desk.

The SafePod at Lancaster University is part of the SafePod Network (SPN). A total of 25 SafePods will make up the SafePod Network, spread geographically across the UK. This network will remove the need for long distance travel to a dedicated safe setting provided by a data centre.

The SPN is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and run by the Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research. Both are part of the ADR UK programme. For more information about the SPN visit SafePod is a registered trademark of the University of St Andrews.’

To use this facility please book via the links on this Library's Safepod webpage

How to access the SafePod

Bookings to access the SafePod are made via the SafePod Network’s website. Please note that you need a project with an SPN Data Centre to be able to book and use a SafePod. To access the SafePod please follow the steps below:

  • Register with SafePod Network as a researcher with the SPN. Registration will involve completing a short online questionnaire on SPN User policies.
  • Once your registration is complete, make a booking request for Lancaster University's SafePod from the SafePod Network website.
  • Your SafePod booking request will then be sent to your chosen Data Centre. If approved, a booking confirmation email will then be sent to you.

Bookings must be received by the Lancaster University SafePod Coordinators a minimum of three working days before the date the SafePod is required. Booking requests go to the Data Centre for approval before they reach the Lancaster University SafePod Coordinators, so please factor this in when planning your SafePod booking.

On the day of the booking come to the Service Desk by the Entrance of Library A floor and ask for the on-duty SafePod Coordinator. Please ensure you bring valid identification with you and follow the instructions provided in the booking confirmation email for use of the SafePod.

Location and opening times

Hours of opening: Monday - Friday, 9.30am-4.00pm.

The SafePod is located on A floor of the University Library.

More information

For more information about the SafePod at Lancaster University please email

For general enquiries about the SafePod Network contact 01334 463901 or email

SafePod is a registered trademark of the University of St Andrews.

Staff members standing outside of the SafePod

Research Themes

Data Science at Lancaster was founded in 2015 on Lancaster’s historic research strengths in Computer Science, Statistics and Operational Research. The environment is further enriched by a broad community of data-driven researchers in a variety of other disciplines including the environmental sciences, health and medicine, sociology and the creative arts.

  • Foundations

    Foundations research sits at the interface of methods and application: with an aim to develop novel methodology inspired by the real-world challenge. These could be studies about the transportation of people, goods & services, energy consumption and the impact of changes to global weather patterns.

  • Health

    The Health theme has a wide scope. Current areas of strength include spatial and spatiotemporal methods in global public health, design and analysis of clinical trials, epidemic forecasting and demographic modelling, health informatics and genetics.

  • Society

    Data Science has brought new approaches to understanding long-standing social problems concerning energy use, climate change, crime, migration, the knowledge economy, ecologies of media, design and communication in everyday life, or the distribution of wealth in financialised economies.

  • Environment

    The focus of the environment theme has been to seek methodological innovations that can transform our understanding and management of the natural environment. Data Science will help us understand how the environment has evolved to its current state and how it might change in the future.

Professor Christina Pagel

Professor Christina Pagel gave a talk to DSI on 'What Independent SAGE has taught me about the current biggest issues in light of COVID-19 and where data science can help'. Listen here to her insights and observations about the ongoing pandemic.

DSI Society - Inequalities

A recording is now available of the launch of the book by Amy Clair and our very own Jasmine Fledderjohann and Bran Knowles entitled, "A Watershed Moment for Social Policy and Human Rights?: Where Next for the UK Post-Covid". The event included an overview of the key concepts and themes in the book; invited talks from Aaron Reeves (University of Oxford), Kayleigh Garthwaite (University of Birmingham), and Daniel Greene (University of Maryland).

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