Day-long event marks launch of QUT’s new Centre for Data Science

The new QUT Centre for Data Science officially opened with a day-long symposium and a big evening launch event.

Distinguished Professor Kerrie Mengersen

Centre Director Kerrie Mengersen led the launch, saying the new Centre would create a book for the future to hand to the current and next generations.

“The book will be filled with pages made from data. It will be the evidence that we hand over. But the data science, the analysis of that data from this new centre, will provide the stories that we find hidden in all that data,” QUT Distinguished Professor Kerrie Mengersen said.

Prof Sir Peter Donnelly

Professor Sir Peter Donnelly also addressed the more than 70-people who showed up for the launch. Professor Donnelly is the CEO of Genomics PLC in the UK and a Professor of Statistical Science in the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics (WCHG) at the University of Oxford. Queen Elizabeth II also knighted him earlier this year for his work in statistical genetics.

“It is more important than ever that we make sense of data to solve some of the real-world problems we are facing. I believe this centre will do just that,” Professor Donnelly said.

The Centre’s launch event also marked the start of the third phase of a 20-year study into Queen’s Wharf Brisbane (QWB), a $3.6-billion integrated resort development in the Brisbane CBD.

The Longitudinal Benefits and Impacts Study (LBIS), jointly initiated by QUT and the Queensland Government, is monitoring the social and economic effects of QWB from the very start of the project and into the future.

The impacts of the Queen’s Wharf Brisbane development, currently under construction, is being studied by the QUT Centre for Data Science.

“The intention is to record these outcomes over a significant time span, allowing decision-makers to proactively plan, coordinate, manage and improve the development,” Professor Mengersen said.

She said the initial two 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.

Before the launch event, the Centre hosted a day-long symposium on ‘Data Science for Social Good’. Topics included conservation, the environment, health-care, genetics, data science for non-profits, food security, public policy, and artificial intelligence.

“These are the types of problems we want to focus on with this new centre. We want to provide solutions that can really help society, and also create the tools to help others find solutions as well,” Professor Mengersen said.

The new QUT Centre for Data Science will create a network to bring together researchers from many different QUT schools and faculties. In addition, the Centre will establish and lead an Australian Data Science Network made up of researchers from multiple universities and organisations around the country.

The new centre is being funded with $7.5-million from QUT. It is one of nine research centres announced by QUT in last November 2019.

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