Data Science Campus Advisory Board – 31 July 2018

1. Note of the first meeting - DSCAB(18)2

Item Lead Discussion points
1 Campus projects show & tell Campus Data Scientists Before the formal meeting, several Campus Senior Data Scientists discussed the following projects with Board members on a 1:1 basis: Categorising trade in goods from text data; Local environment statistics from images; Shipping and port operations from global GPS data; Keywords improving the ONS search engine; Sharing fine-grained synthetic data with stakeholders; and Identifying emerging technology trends through patent applications.
2 Welcome & Campus vision John Pullinger, National Statistician John Pullinger introduced the meeting, explaining the origins of the Campus in the Bean Review, describing its growth since that Review and setting out the forward-looking role he envisaged for the Advisory Board.

Members introduced themselves and gave a brief description of their roles.

3 Working with the Advisory Board

Terms of Reference

Tom Smith, MD, Data Science Campus Tom Smith invited views from members on how they could help the Campus identify opportunities, determine priorities, advise on the work programme, build connections, learn from others and challenge the Campus to think about the bigger picture and aim high. He introduced the draft Terms of Reference for the group and membership and invited views on membership.

Members discussed the frequency of meetings and levels and means of engagement between meetings. The Board considered the balance between breadth and depth and foresaw a broad focus, based on a good understanding the work of the Campus, with a strong thread of continuity between meetings. The Campus should seek individual contributions from members on specific projects outside of the formal meetings and develop a social network.


Secretariat to arrange three meetings per year, at appropriate external venues.

Terms of Reference updated to reflect discussion and the guiding role envisaged for the Board. Updated Terms to be circulated.

4 Forward programme:

Objectives & metrics

Peter Fullerton, Deputy Director – Planning and Resources Peter Fullerton set out the Campus’ business plan in the context of Better Statistics, Better Decisions and presented objectives and metrics. He invited the Board to advise on how best to create and measure impact and benefits.

The Board was keen to understand the USP of the Campus and how the Campus most effectively collaborates across government and beyond. As the Campus work programme and processes mature from the current start-up phase, identifying the activities and projects that deliver maximum impact will be key to delivering on the mission (and making the case for future resources).

5 Research programme Tom Smith MD, Data Science Campus Tom Smith gave an overview of the research programme and how projects are selected, prioritised and delivered. The Board queried how ideas were generated from outside the Campus and advocated “user champions” for each project. There was also a need to allocate resources to marketing projects to enhance impact. Secondments in and out of the Campus could prove beneficial in this regard.


The Campus will publish a comprehensive list of research projects in-progress and completed.

Future discussion with the Board will share which projects are on the backlog (possible future projects), and which were decided not to take forward.

6 Building capability

Knowledge exchange & partnerships

Dave Johnson, Deputy Director – Knowledge Exchange Dave Johnson presented the slides on the Campus’s knowledge pathway, showing our approach to building skills, sharing knowledge and developing partnerships. A key question for the Board was to help identify what the learning and development activities were aiming to achieve – i.e. how best to use the new skills of those that were trained.

The Board discussed the importance of the demand side relative to the supply side, both inside the research process and in growing skills. Educating others was needed inside and outside Government to create demand.


Secretariat to schedule discussion of the overall Campus risks and issues at a future meeting, including the sustainability of the business model.

7 A.O.B / Close John Pullinger The Board members present agreed to the Campus publicising their membership and sharing contact details among members.


Tom Smith to share all slides presented and request mini-bios from all members to go on the Campus website.

Tom Smith to catch-up with members unable to attend the first meeting.

Secretariat to issue a Doodle poll of potential dates for the next meeting.

Peter Fullerton, Anya Crisp-Patterson, DSCAB Secretariat, July 2018,