A £1.63M investment from the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA) will enable more than 200 companies in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland to grow over the next three years, by gaining insight from their data.

Private and public sector organisations alike, are generating and capturing more and more data but struggling to create value from it. Without the knowledge and skills to process and analyse this information, organisations are missing out on revealing insights that could make their businesses far more productive.

The National Innovation Centre for Data (NICD) exists to tackle this challenge and NTCA funding will create a bespoke team to focus on the business issues across the region. The funding guarantees that the benefits of a national centre are readily available for North of Tyne organisations.

National Innovation Centre for Data building

National Innovation Centre for Data

Professor Steve Caughey, Director of the National Innovation Centre for Data explained: “We have a national remit. But as demand for help with data across the UK is so high, we don’t have the capacity to help everyone.

“This NTCA investment will allow us to deliver a bespoke programme focussed on the North of Tyne. We’ll be helping more regional companies to grow by enabling them to use their data to address their business questions.”

Over 220 businesses will be supported to make better and more productive use of their data, through a mix of awareness raising activities and intensive collaborative projects. By upskilling employees with data science tools and methods, rather than simply delivering a service, the programme aims to help businesses gain long term benefits.

Councillor Nick Forbes

North of Tyne Cabinet Member for Business Competitiveness and Leader of Newcastle City Council Cllr Nick Forbes said: “I’m really proud that Newcastle is home to the National Innovation Centre for Data. “We know that Big Data is going to be one of the things that transforms our world for the future.  That’s why the North of Tyne Combined Authority is investing £1.6 million, alongside investment from the university and from government to make sure that the facility on our doorstep here isn’t just a fantastic facility for our city and our country, but that we can use it to shape a new world and how we use data to drive innovation, productivity, jobs and prosperity. The Combined Authority is at the heart of this by investing in this fantastic facility.”

NICD was established out of Newcastle University’s world leading research and teaching in data science. The team occupy the award-winning Catalyst building on the city-centre Newcastle Helix site and have already worked with a wide range of organisations in the North of Tyne region including True Potential, Sage, and NHS Business Services Authority.

Barry Hodgson, Director of Strategy at NICD explained: “When we collaborate with organisations, we provide their people with the skills to run successful data-driven projects. Our technical team hold PhDs or Masters in Data Science and have specialisms ranging across data wrangling and analytics, statistics and modelling, through to scalable computing, machine learning and visualisation. Typical projects focus on core business problems and resolving these issues can help organisations to cut costs, by creating operational efficiencies and to increase sales by improving or creating new products and services. We already have a tried and tested collaboration process and a portfolio of successful project outcomes, across a range of sectors and organisational size. We’d ask any North of Tyne organisation that is interested in finding out more to get in touch.”

To contact the National Innovation Centre for Data visit www.ncl.ac.uk/nicdor email nicd@newcastle.ac.uk.