What the latest application and success rates data tells us

alex-hulkes-150Alex Hulkes is Strategic Lead for Insights at the ESRC, and is responsible for developing our ability to evaluate and carry out data-informed analysis of ESRC investments, policy and operation.

Here he explores the latest analysis just published on ESRC’s application and success rate data.

The data for decisions (ODS) made on ESRC research grant and fellowship proposals in the last financial year is now available on the ESRC website. And our analysis (PDF) has been updated to reflect this. Some parts of the picture have changed, but some remain the same. Continue reading

Mine your data – why understanding online health communities matters

aude-bicquelet-4-webDr Aude Bicquelet is a Research Director in the Health team at NatCen – the National Centre for Social Research. Aude specialises in the analysis of ‘Big Qualitative Data’ on health-related issues and has worked with professional and regulatory health bodies such as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the Royal College of Physicians. 

In November, Aude presented findings from a recent study looking into how people use social media to discuss health issues at the ESRC Festival of Social Science.

A staggering 73% of adults in the UK turn to the internet when experiencing health problems. Whether it is to check symptoms, find out about available treatments or share experiences about living with a particular condition, the internet has become the first port of call with many turning to the web before they even consider going to see a doctor.
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What happens when we don’t have good data?

Amy-Sippitt 150.fwAmy Sippitt is Full Fact‘s research and impact manager. She runs a team of fact-checkers, and promotes high-quality research into the impact of fact-checking and the misinformation ecosystem.

The Need to Know project was launched in February to anticipate and plan for what information is needed for upcoming public decisions. Here Amy — who co-ordinates the project — explains more about what the project hopes to achieve.

Experts can and do work together to call out spurious factual claims and argument. But they also play a big role in laying the groundwork for debate. This starts with attempting to predict the big debates that will be happening in five years’ time, and producing information to inform these debates before things get too heated for the information to be heard.

This is exactly what the Need to Know project is about — a joint project between Full Fact, the Economic and Social Research Council, the UK Statistics Authority, and the House of Commons Library. Continue reading

Application and award success rates – what the data tells us

Alex Hulkes is Strategic Lead for Insights at the ESRC, and is responsible for developing our ability to evaluate and carry out data-informed analysis of ESRC investments, policy and operation.

Here he highlights why we publish our application and award data, and what conclusions we might be able to draw from it.

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You may have noticed that we’ve just published a new set of application and award data showing the number of applications and awards from each research organisation (RO) that has applied for ESRC funding in the last five financial years. The set also contains similar data on numbers of applications and awards based on the research disciplines used to classify grants. Continue reading

‘Big data’ in action: Linking 180 million tweets with 600,000 police records

Professor Matthew Williams and Dr Pete Burnap are directors of the ESRC-funded Social Data Science Lab that continues the successful COSMOS programme of work. The Lab forms part of the Data Innovation Research Institute, which will be housed within the new Social Science Research Park at Cardiff University.

Together with colleagues (Dr Luke Sloan and Professor Omer Rana) they recently presented their intriguing findings about the power of pulling large sets of data from social media in front of 150 policymakers, academics and industry experts at the Data Science and Government ConferenceThe event, organised by the Behavioural Insights Team, looked at how emerging techniques in data science can best be used to support policy agendas in a range of areas.

Professor Matthew Williams and Dr Pete Burnap

Professor Matthew Williams and Dr Pete Burnap

Many would say there has been a lot of hype about the promise of Big Data and Data Science in government circles in recent years.  The Data Science and Government Conference gave one of the first opportunities for presenters, from government and academia, to demonstrate how very large datasets are being put to use in real-world policy contexts to address a range of pressing questions and to introduce new efficiencies. Recently the Cabinet Office developed a set of guidelines for the ethical use of big data in government projects.
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