£7m investment in UK Data Service for social science skills training

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The University of Manchester is one of five partner organisations who together have been awarded £37.5 million from The Economic and Social Research Council to fund the UK Data Service until 2030. Of this award £7 million is to support our team at the Cathie Marsh Institute (CMI), now 13-strong, where Vanessa Higgins and Debora Price lead the national Training and User Support functions of the service.

Welcoming the award, Professor Andrew Miles, Director of Research, School of Social Science said:



This is a prestigious award supporting the core business of the social sciences which enhances the international reputation of the School and the University for advancing high quality research.

The UK Data Service provides access to the largest collection of economic, social and population data in Europe. It hosts over 9,000 datasets including the UK Census, Understanding Society and the Labour Force Survey. There are 50,000 registered users, from 148 countries.

Professor Debora Price, Deputy Director of the Service and lead Investigator at the University of Manchester, said:

There is barely a quantitative social scientist in the UK who has not used the Data Service for research or training. This award is fantastic news, ensuring that our highly skilled team can continue our work for years to come in an ever-changing and rapidly evolving data landscape.

The cross-site Training and User Support service led by the CMI team at Manchester has grown significantly in recent years with an outstanding track record of providing appropriate training programmes. 

Last year, they ran over 100 live training events and there is a large and growing range of online materials, from interactive data skills modules, to written guides and how-to videos for all levels of user. Feedback from users is excellent with 97% of respondents last year saying they would recommend their training event to others.

Dr Vanessa Higgins, Co-Investigator at the University of Manchester, and national Service Director for Training and User Support said:

I’m delighted that we have been awarded this funding, especially in the same year that we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Cathie Marsh Institute. Last year over 6,000 people attended our live training events and many thousands per month access our online materials. I am proud of my team’s achievements and we are all looking forward to training the next cohort of social scientists.

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