Closing the skills gap: Derby receives £250,000 for specialist data analytics laboratory

21 September 2017

A state-of-the-art Data Visualisation Laboratory (DVL) is to be installed at the University of Derby’s brand new STEM Centre, addressing the need for a specialist teaching facility for data analytics and supporting the globally recognised research in this area.

The University has received a £250,000 grant from the Garfield Weston Foundation for the installation of the DVL within its new STEM Centre, which will be opened this month (Wednesday 27 September) by HRH The Earl of Wessex, and contains provision for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines.

The DVL will demonstrate advanced, immersive visualisation technologies and will have a specific emphasis on processing and interacting with big data sets to produce innovative insights. The use of visualisation technologies enables the identification of patterns and movements in massive data sets to reveal the basis of hypotheses for further investigation.

These technologies will impact through the University’s cutting edge research for example, increasing energy prices and growing High Performance Computing (HPC) system power demands could result in unaffordable energy costs by 2020. Current solutions lean towards reducing energy consumption but also reduce performance quality.

Students and staff at the University of Derby will use the DVL for a range of research projects, including exploring the possibilities of developing an energy efficient model for High Performance Computing (HPC) systems that also deliver high performance quality.

Students from a range of disciplines, including computer science, design, engineering, health and construction, will have access to the DVL.

An image of the visualization laboratory to be installed at the University of Derby's brand new STEM centre

Professor Kathryn Mitchell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Derby, said: “We are incredibly grateful to the Garfield Weston Foundation for their grant which has allowed the installation of this state-of-the-art Data Visualisation Laboratory.

“This purpose built facility will provide students with the best possible environment in which to study and participate in STEM disciplines. We have identified a need for specialist teaching in data analytics and, in support of the Midlands Engine strategy, believe this will help close the skills gap and deliver highly qualified and skilled graduates into our industries.”

Philippa Charles, Director of the Garfield Weston Foundation, said: “We are pleased to support the University of Derby with its development of new facilities, which will benefit a large number of their students and equip them with the skills they need for today’s changing world of work.”

Professor Kathryn Mitchell added: “The new 4,200m² STEM Centre, part funded by a £5 million grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), will provide enhanced facilities for our College of Engineering and Technology students. Those studying on apprenticeship, degree and research programmes will all benefit from this fabulous facility.”