The University of Manchester and the BBC: Forging a new Data Science Research Partnership

Time: 15:00 - 16:00

Venue: Atlas Rooms, Kilburn Building, The University of Manchester, M13 9PL

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Speaker: Mr. George Wright, Head of Internet Research and Future Services for BBC Research & Development / UoM Simon Industrial Fellow

The talk will focus on the work of the BBC R&D department and specifically the research carried out by George and his team in developing digital services for the BBC. He will discuss the rationale and goals of the Data Science Research Partnership (DSRP) between the University and the BBC and highlight the project he is conducting with the Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research (CMI) as part of that partnership. 

The project is designed to promote researchers’ access to and understanding of BBC content and to help the BBC identify how its outputs can be better measured and studied. Through a series of interviews we will explore the ways in which the BBC as an organization, and its outputs are now studied by researchers from a range of different disciplines. What kinds of questions are typically posed and how easy or difficult is it to answer those questions? What are the tools and data that academia uses to do this and how can these be better utilised and improved by the BBC and the academy working together? For example, what forms of ‘big data’ are available from the BBC and what are related methods (topic modelling, ML, sentiment analysis, AI) that could be developed and applied to analyse these resources? How can survey and qualitative methods such as focus groups, time diaries and  interview texts be integrated with these large scale approaches to produce a more granular and fine grained analysis of user preferences and behaviours? How are academic areas of focus portrayed and reported by the BBC?

We are seeking to recruit participants from across the University for interviews during June and July that have an interest in using BBC data. If you are keen to talk with us then please come along to the event and register your interest. If you are unable to come to the event but would like to participate in the project please email digitalfutures@manchester.ac.uk and let us know.