Big data computers

The University of Birmingham forms part of a consortium of universities awarded £2.5m by NERC to train the next generation of researchers to become experts at assessing and mitigating risk using Big Data. 

The ‘DREAM’ (Data, Risk And Environmental Analytical Methods) consortium comprises four universities, led by Cranfield University, along with the University of Birmingham, the University of Cambridge and Newcastle University – each with significant expertise in environmental risk management and the application of intelligent technologies to large data sets. 

Hosted as a Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT), the aim of the consortium is to produce a cohort of researchers who can use large or complex datasets to understand and ease the risks posed by a range of societal and environmental changes, such as a rapidly expanding population, limited natural resources and natural hazards. 

Over the coming years, DREAM will support 30 PhD students undertaking postgraduate research, seizing opportunities in ‘big data’ analytics, and designing effective risk management strategies across the environmental sciences.  

The University of Birmingham’s primary contribution will be through the Human Geography Research Group, and Centre for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS) in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences. Contributing academics seek to better understand how social practices and relations are conditioned by space and place, linking environmental risk and governance questions, and spanning the boundaries between the natural and social sciences. 

The School’s involvement in this CDT will further strengthen its growing reputation in geocomputation as well as provide significant opportunities for new multidisciplinary projects within the School and beyond.