Big data on a laptop
Big data on a laptop

An exciting new Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) is to be established at Cranfield University.

The ‘Risk and Mitigation: Using Big Data’ Centre is a consortium made up of the UK’s four leading academic centres of research excellence in big data, risk and mitigation. Together they will apply their deep expertise in environmental risk management and intelligent technologies to utilise large data sets.

In our increasing digital world, ‘big data’ is becoming increasingly important to business and society. Collected from mobile phones to unmanned aerial vehicles, from satellite remote sensing devices to embedded sensor networks, often data sets can be so large or complex that it becomes difficult to apply traditional data processing applications.

The UK Government has recognised a skills gap in this area, so this Cranfield-led CDT will help bridge this gap, developing a new generation of industry and policy leaders able to draw effectively on big data to improve operational efficiencies, cost reductions and reduce risk.

The new CDT will provide the opportunity for 30 PhD students over three years to undertake postgraduate research and apply big data analytics. The training will combine excellence in risk science with cutting-edge big data interpretation across the environmental sciences.

Funded by NERC (the Natural Environment Research Council) and ESRC (the Economic and Social Research Council), the DREAM (Data, Risk And Environmental Analytical Methods) consortium is made up of Cranfield, Newcastle, Cambridge and Birmingham universities.

Through the CDT students with have access to the national Land Information System (LandIS), the World Soil Survey Archive and Catalogue (WOSSAC) and the Big Data and 3-D Virtual Reality laboratory suite all held at Cranfield. The resources will enable students to design effective risk management strategies across the environmental sciences, helping to improve the understanding of environmental risk mitigation options for industry, businesses, government and society. They will also have the opportunity to work on stakeholder-driven, challenging research and develop skills to support insightful, high impact, industrially-relevant doctorates.

Equipped to work across a range of core environmental thematic areas, the Doctorates will be well-versed in the technological and analytical methods and approaches of defining, constructing, manipulating, interpreting and communicating dynamic big data, yet whose skills are couched in the context of applying these to resilience, risk assessment and mitigation supporting risk-based decision making.

Simon Pollard, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, School of Energy, Environment and Agrifood, said: “We are delighted to be awarded this funding from NERC, it is a superb opportunity to train the next generation of risk and data analysts, using the combined skills of the DREAM consortium, with deep engagement from industry and Government.

DREAM will deliver highly employable analysts that understand the complexities of our networked, interconnected world, and so ensure our future systems are reliable, resilient and adaptive to the threats they face”.

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.

Environment Doctoral Training Centre

This higher research degree is associated with our Environment Doctoral Training Centre (DTC). The Environment DTC provides a focal point for engagement and academic discussion for all students involved in environmentally-related research at Cranfield. It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge relating to the sector which characterise our research portfolio.

A tailored programme of seminars and events alongside the generic core skills training programme, provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities with Cranfield’s wider research community.

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.