The UK government is set to invest £73 million to help the country unlock the potential of big data.
University and science minister David Willetts announced at a GovNet conference on February 6th that the government will be investing in 55 data analytics projects, which are set to bring in large quantities of data and convert them into more usable formats.
Four research centres are due to be set up at universities, focusing on problems in areas such as transport and healthcare. The Economic and Social Research Council is due to invest £14 million in these projects. It is hoped that big data will take up a bigger role in driving the economy.
The government believes that, in the future, big data will help to create a lot of employment opportunities for people across the country. It forecasts that big data analytics will create 58,000 jobs in the UK by the year 2017 and will generate an extra £216 billion for the economy during this time.
Speaking about the investment in the projects, Mr Willetts said: "Big data is one of the eight great technologies of the future and a priority for government. It has the potential to transform public and private sector organisations, drive research and development, increase productivity and innovation, and enable market-changing products and services."
“This funding will help the UK grasp these opportunities and get ahead in the global race.”
The Medical Research Council are among those that are set to invest in big data analytics, putting £50 million towards bioinformatics. These are used in computer science, statistics, mathematics and engineering to process biological data and are hoped to aid with understanding disease in humans.
Additionally, the Arts and Humanities Research Council are set to spend £4 million on 21 open data projects, making information that is typically only available to academics available to the general public.
During the Autumn Statement, the government announced that it would be setting £189 million aside for big data.