QUT has announced a $7.5 million Centre for Data Science.
Initially the centre will:
- Initiate a DataScience@QUT Network to bring together researchers from many different QUT schools and faculties
- Create solutions to fundamental problems of gathering, modelling and analysing data and making datainformed decisions when dealing with a wide range of issues including health, environment, business and industry
- Establish and lead an Australian Data Science Network
- Lead the next phase of a 20year study into the Queens Wharf Brisbane development project.
Distinguished Professor Kerrie Mengersen will lead the new QUT Centre for Data Science.
Professor Mengersen said virtually every faculty at QUT dealt with data and made important decisions based on those data in areas of health, environment, business, government and society.
“The Centre comes along at a crucial time to help advance some QUT-led flagship projects as well as those still developing e.g. a project with the United Nations to help countries use satellite data for agricultural development as well as the Australian Cancer Atlas project,” Professor Mengersen said.
“By working together across the centre, QUT can lead the way when it comes to creating data-informed solutions for real world challenges.
“Modern-day data-focused decision making requires input from a variety experts, apart from statisticians and computer scientists. These experts are drawn from areas of law, business, health, biology, environment to name a few.
“It’s only by taking a solutions-based approached problem solving and bringing the right mix of skilled people together that we’ll overcome challenging data science problems.”
The centre’s official launch will follow its inaugural international symposium on Data Science and Social Good, being held at QUT tomorrow (29 November 2019).
The centre will be the lead node for a new Australian Data Science Network that will bring together data science organisations from around the country.
“QUT is perfectly positioned to lead a national entity given the depth and breadth of its activities and we will be actively forming partnerships with external organisations,” Professor Mengersen said.
“The centre aims to provide a one-stop shop for collaboration across these universities and industry partnerships.”
Professor Mengersen said there were already a number of flagship projects underway at the centre.
“At the top of that list is a first of its kind study into Queen’s Wharf Brisbane (QWB), a $3.6 billion integrated resort development in the Brisbane CBD,” Professor Mengersen said.
The project includes hotel and residential accommodation, a casino, retail and entertainment areas and new public space.
She said a Longitudinal Benefits and Impacts Study (LBIS), jointly initiated by QUT and the Queensland Government, was monitoring the social and economic effects of QWB from the very start of the project and would continue to do so into the future.
“The LBIS will capture outcomes for the QWB precinct, for the city of Brisbane, and for the state of Queensland,” Professor Mengersen said.
“The intention is to record these outcomes over a significant time span, allowing decision makers to proactively plan, coordinate, manage and improve the development,” she said.
She said the initial phases of the study helped establish a baseline, allowing researchers to begin tracking changes as construction moves forward and QWB begins to take shape. Key areas of study include Connectivity, Safety, Public Sentiment, Finance and Construction, and Tourism and Business Returns.
Professor Mengersen said she hoped the LBIS would extend beyond the QWB project.
“The study is a unique and critical strategic framework for evidence-based monitoring and decision-making that can be applied where any large-scale infrastructure projects are being considered,” Professor Mengersen said.
She emphasised the study was just one example of the type of work she expects the new QUT Centre for Data Science to lead.
“Our vision is to be a national and global leader in the development of frontier methods for the purposeful application of data to make a sustained societal impact,” Professor Mengersen said.
The QUT Centre for Data Science is one of nine new centres announced by the university this week.