Data, data everywhere

The data that humans generate has always helped shape our society.

In 1854 London was the centre of a severe cholera outbreak that was thought to be caused by pollution or “bad air”. English physician, John Snow, did not believe that bad air caused this disease and undertook an investigation to find its true cause. Snow used data from cholera cases to show that it was not caused by pollution but by contaminated water from a single pump on Broad Street. His findings resulted in the pump handle being removed. This action is commonly credited with ending the outbreak.

Advances in technology mean that we are now generating more and more data on everything from our online shopping habits to pollution levels in towns and cities. These data can provide unique insights into the world we live in and are used for purposes ranging from tailored advertisements to informing public health initiatives.


Seeing the full value of your data 

As a result, many business, industrial and public sector organisations are keen to use their collected data more effectively to gain the best possible insights. This means that the questions being asked of the data are becoming more complex. Often, the time needed to conduct a thorough and robust analysis of the data is not compatible with the time constraints within the organisation. Furthermore, some of the methods needed for analysis are at the very cutting edge of current mathematical and statistical research, meaning time would need to be devoted to learning new techniques before they could be applied.

The Statistics and Mathematics Advice, Research and Training Unit (SMART), a consultancy unit within the Department of Mathematics & Statistics at the University of Strathclyde, was launched in November 2014 to assist business, industrial and public sector organisations with their data challenges. We offer advice on study design, data analysis and visualisation, and the use of statistical and mathematical modelling as a tool for solving real-world problems. Generally speaking, if there is data to be analysed, or a product or process to be designed, improved or optimised, SMART can probably help. Continued Professional Development (CPD) training courses in areas of mathematics and statistics are also on offer, and these can be tailored to suit the needs of your team or workforce. SMART is already working in areas as diverse as health, finance, and law, but our reach knows no bounds.

"I cannot speak highly enough of the work undertaken by SMART and Dr Stephen Corson in relation to my research project.  I have rarely worked with anyone so skilled (across a number of areas), practical, sensible, professional, hard-working and generous with his time, all of which he applied consistently to the benefit of the project." 

-Dr Claire McDiarmid on working with SMART


In early 2018, the Maths & Stats Department is rolling out two new courses in collaboration with Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC). These courses are aimed at postgraduate and post-doctoral researchers. A number of funded places are available for each. For more information or to register for a course, click here.  


Dr Stephen Corson

Knowledge Exchange Director & SMART Director