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Alex Singleton wins RGS award

Alex Singleton

Professor Alex Singleton wins Royal Geographical Society award

Alex Singleton, CDRC Deputy Director and Professor of Geographic Information Science at the University of Liverpool, has received the Royal Society of Geography’s Cuthbert Peek Award for “contributions to contemporary methods in geography that lie at the boundary between the social and computational sciences”.

Professor Singleton will be presented with his award by the Royal Geographic Society’s President at their annual Medals and Awards ceremony on Friday 6th June.

The Cuthbert Peek Award recognises “those advancing geographical knowledge of human impact on the environment through the application of contemporary methods, including those of earth observation and mapping”.

Professor Singleton is an internationally recognised researcher in the field of geographic data science and urban analytics and has published widely on the subject including the seminal text book “Urban Analytics”. As well as being Deputy Director of the CDRC, he is also Director of the ESRC Data Analytics & Society CDT.

He said: “It is a great honour to receive this award in recognition of the work that my colleagues and I have been able to achieve at the University of Liverpool over the past decade. It is important that Geography remains outward looking, both so that we can benefit from those new technologies and methodologies developed elsewhere, but also to promote greater spatial thinking or engagement outside of the discipline.

“The intersection between Geography and the Computational Sciences provides an incredibly fruitful area of employment for our graduates, where there is significant demand for well-trained students who can apply their technical skills alongside critical thinking and wider situational awareness instilled through their variegated geography education.”

The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) is the world’s largest Learned Society in Geography, with nearly 15,000 fellows around the globe. This year, their awards recognise 23 different people or organisations for their outstanding contributions to geography. The full list of recipients is available on their website.

Sir Cuthbert Edgar Peek (30 January 1855 – 6 July 1901) was an astronomer and meteorologist, and took part in activities of several learned societies alongside undertaking scientific expeditions to Iceland and Australia.

[Adapted from original article here – https://news.liverpool.ac.uk/2022/05/03/prestigious-royal-geographic-society-award-for-geographic-information-science-expert/]

CDRC students are prize-winners at GISRUK Conference

CDRC students are prize-winners at GISRUK Conference

Congratulations to Abigail Hill and Shunya Kimura, who both won prizes at the GISRUK Conference, 6-8 April 2022.

Abigail Hill, a PhD student with CDRC and UCL Geography, won the Best Early-Career Presentation Award, sponsored by Google, for her presentation on “An investigation of the impact and resilience of British High streets following the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions”.  

Abigail’s research uses hierarchical clustering with spatial constraints to create a typology of resilience across Britain’s high streets. The analysis incorporates a measure of the proportion of stores deemed as ‘essential’ by the British government during the numerous lockdown periods. The research found that the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions exacerbated pre-existing trends in vacancy especially for those high streets struggling before the pandemic.

Retail vacancies

Abigail said: “I am so grateful to everyone who voted for me to win the award, I hope they enjoyed my presentation and could see the policy benefits of my research”.

Shunya Kimura, a PhD student with CDRC and UCL Geography, won the CASA Prize for Best Spatial Analysis Paper, for his presentation on “Exploring the spatial disparities in gambling risk and vulnerability”. The prize is sponsored by CASA in memory of Sinesio Alves Junior.

Shunya’s research explores gambling risk and vulnerability. Gambling harm disrupts the health and wellbeing of individuals, as well as families, communities and societies around them. Despite the growing recognition that gambling harms are socially and geographically uneven in their occurrence and impacts, there is limited empirical knowledge about the factors underlying the disparities. Here, we quantitatively profiled nationwide gambling surveys using a series of small area geodemographic data. Results were synthesized to devise a composite indicator of gambling risk and vulnerability that can be mapped to provide new insights into public health strategies to tackling gambling harms in a more effective manner.

Risk around Manchester

Shunya said: “I was shocked when they called my name as the prize winner but am very much honoured and proud to have our work recognised. I am grateful to the CDRC team for all their continuous support, and winning the prize has definitely given me a motivational boost in developing my research further.”

It was a great opportunity to present our research and forge collaborations for future work, as well as being the first in-person GISRUK conference for 2 years.

UCL Geography Early Career Researchers at GISRUK 2022, L to R: Jakub Wyszomierski, Louise Sieg, James Todd, Shunya Kimura (CASA Prize winner), Abigail Hill (ECR Prize winner), Jason Tang.

Masters Dissertation Scheme 2021 Awards

Data shown in gold converging into a point of light on the horizon like a sunset

Masters Dissertation Scheme 2021 Awards

Since 2012, the nationwide CDRC Masters Dissertation Scheme (MDS) has brought together masters students intent upon pursuing dissertations using retail and other industry data, their academic supervisors and industry contacts who are able to provide data or support ‘horizon-scanning’ research focused upon real world problems. The MDS now also has an active alumni network of past students to maintain and further develop industry collaborations with CDRC.

Every year, the best dissertations are showcased at an event and three prizes awarded to the best dissertations.

This year’s awards ceremony was held online, hosted by the Market Research Society’s Census and GeoDems Group, with prizes awarded by the Economic and Social Research Council’s Senior Policy Manager, Bruce Jackson.

The winner was Disa Ramadhina (MSc Business Analytics, UCL) who worked with partner Entain Group on the relationship between the use of retail shop and online gambling behaviour. Disa now works with Entain Group as a Compliance Data Analyst in their Safer Gambling team.  

Runner up Sharon Liu (MSc Operational Research with Data Science, University of Edinburgh) worked with longstanding MDS partner Walgreen Boots Alliance on enhancements to online recommender systems to personalise customer experience.

Movement Strategies has also become a regular sponsor of MDS projects and worked with our other runner up, Lu Xia (MSc Social and Geographic Data Science, UCL) on inferring transport mode using GPS data.

Disa Ramadhina

Sharon Liu
Sharon Liu

Lu Xia
Lu Xia

Our warmest congratulations to these very worthy winners, who share £1,000 in prize money. This year the MDS attracted 80 applications for the 20 projects on offer, details of which can be found in the MDS Project Archive

The Masters Dissertation Scheme 2022 is now open for proposals from industry and other partners – enquiries can be directed to Melanie Chesnokov at m.chesnokov@ucl.ac.uk

Local Data Spaces: ONS Research Excellence Project Award 2021 winners!

The CDRC’s Local Data Spaces project has been chosen as the winner of the prestigious ONS Research Excellence Project Award 2021 from the 400+ projects who used Office for National Statistics (ONS) data this year! This award recognises innovative research that has delivered public good or informed policy decisions.

The Local Data Spaces project combined ONS datasets with the CDRC’s own consumer data, creating ten innovative reports for each English Local Authority. These reports delivered highly tailored insights about how their communities were affected by the pandemic, which could then help to shape policy strategies.

For example, in Liverpool, the reports identified that sections of the community with low confidence in using internet technologies were less likely to make use of lateral flow tests. This led to local efforts to promote testing beyond social media, feeding these insights into the national roll-out of lateral flow testing that helped re-open workplaces and schools following the January lockdown.

In Norfolk, the analysis shows that furloughed workers were three times more likely to have caught COVID-19 than individuals who were employed or self-employed, suggesting that more could have been done to prevent COVID-19 outside of workplaces. A similar pattern was observed in most places nationally.

The project also found that, across England, COVID-19 did not significantly vary between men and women within different work sectors or occupations. One exception was the higher rate for COVID-19 in women employed in personal services jobs (e.g. hairdressers, barbers, cleaners, beauticians) at the start of the second wave. Findings from this work were presented to SAGE (Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) to help inform national policy around gender inequalities.

“The pandemic has shown the importance of getting the right data into the right hands,” said Dr Mark Green, lead researcher. “Local Data Spaces has opened up new sources of data to local authorities and helped them proactively respond to COVID-19.

“We are honoured to receive this prestigious ONS award. I am really proud of how our team worked at pace to support urgent policy needs during a global crisis.”

Professor Alex Singleton, CDRC Co-Director, added: “The strategic ESRC funding enabling the Local Data Spaces project perfectly illustrates the value and impact that can be unlocked by the social sciences when integrating consumer and government data within trusted research environments.”

Each of the 10 reports for all Local Authorities across England are freely available from the CDRC website and tackle a variety of themes related to the local impacts of COVID-19, from demographic and occupational inequalities, through excess mortality, to economic vulnerabilities.

Huge congratulations to the whole research team!!

Digitising Historical Telephone Directories with BT Archives

Digitising Historical Telephone Directories with BT Archives:
GISRUK Best Short Paper Award 2021

CDRC collaborative PhD student, Nikki Tanu, and Senior Research Fellow, Dr. Maurizio Gibin, were awarded the ‘Best Short Paper’ award at the 2021 GIS Research UK (GISRUK) online conference on 16 April 2021. Their paper, ‘Georeferencing historical telephone directories to understand innovation diffusion and social change’, described pioneering work in the digital capture and georeferencing of the 1881 telephone directory. The work demonstrates proof of concept that will be rolled out to digitise selected directories up to the 1980s and will make it possible to chart the spatial and social diffusion and use of fixed line telephony in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Process of optical character recognition and geocoding used on the telephone directories

CDRC researcher Meixu (May) Chen was joint winner of the Sinesio Alves Junior Prize (https://www.ucl.ac.uk/bartlett/casa/remembering-sinesio-alves-junior) for work undertaken whilst she was working at CDRC in Liverpool.

Congratulations to May, Maurizio and Nikki!

(Written by Dr Nick Bearman, Project Delivery Manager, and originally posted on www.data.cdrc.ac.uk)