Feb 26 2015 | Posted by SSSandy

Meeting Europe’s big data skills gap

Researchers from the University of Southampton will play a major role in establishing a European Data Science Academy (EDSA) – a new online platform for training data scientists across Europe.

The Academy will help organisations and businesses across the EU to benefit from the global explosion and availability of large and complex data sets – known as ‘big data’. Possessing the ability to generate insights from these huge data sets, data scientists can discover stories and trends that may otherwise remain hidden, creating opportunities for an organisation to improve, economise or investigate further. 

As the data-driven economy continues to grow, increasing numbers of organisations require skilled professionals who are capable of handling big data. To help meet this urgent demand, the EDSA will create a supply of data scientists with the knowledge and skills to help organisations of all sizes manage and make use of such quantities of data, allowing them to remain competitive in an increasingly expanding data-based economy.

It is estimated that in the UK, demand for professionals with the skills to manage large amounts of data is expected to grow by 160 per cent by 2020, creating nearly 56,000 jobs per year http://www.e-skills.com/news-and-events/october-2014/tech-partnership-and-sas-research-reveals-soaring-demand-for-big-data-skills-in-the-uk/  .

Dr Elena Simperl, Associate Professor in the Web and Internet Science Group at the University of Southampton, is the technical lead for the EDSA project. She says: “Big data analysis can provide an unparalleled level of insight into what is happening around a particular issue, by revealing trends that may have never been noticed before.

“The EDSA project offers a great opportunity for Southampton to strengthen its position in the data science industry. This complements the launch of our new MSc program on the same topic later this year.”


The project will be funded by a €2.9m (£2.2m) investment through the EU Horizon2020 program. It will use e-learning technologies to create courses and training for data science professionals across key EU industrial sectors.

The EDSA project involves nine partners from higher education, professional training organisations and technology innovators, from the UK and the rest of Europe. Educational institutions involved are: the Open University (who are leading the EDSA project), the Jozef Stefan Institute (Slovenia), Kungiga Tekniska Hoegskolan (Sweden), the University of Southampton, and the Technisce Universiteit Eindhoven (Netherlands).

Other organisations involved are: the Open Data Institute (ODI), which was founded by University of Southampton Professors Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Sir Nigel Shadbolt; Fraunhofer IAIS, a leading German applied research institute; Idexlab, a French open innovation company; and Persontyle, a UK social enterprise focused on numeracy and data science.

Registration for courses from the European Data Science will open later in 2015.


For further information on The European Data Science Academy, please visit: http://edsa-project.eu/