Author: Justyna Jonak
On the 29th of November 2018, as a DigiChamp I was invited to cover the University of Southampton’s Digital Day, hosted by the Public Policy Unit at Southampton. There were around 20 participants from the Government Digital Service, the Department for Business, Enterprise & Industrial Strategy, and the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, who travelled from London to Southampton for this special occasion. The purpose of this event was to present research activities, and discuss how government and academics can work together in order to reach their goals. Directors of the Web Science Institute were featured in the session covering Web Science and Data Science.
The event started with the welcoming speech from Professor Bashir Al-Hashimi, the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences and Gavin Costigan, the Director of Public Policy|Southampton. Professor Bashir Al-Hashimi, in his speech, especially stressed the value of research conducted at University of Southampton. “We don’t do research just for the sake of it, we do it for a reason” – said Professor Al-Hashimi. We then all listened to a very passionate talk about the Web Science Institute given by Professor Les Carr, an Executive Director of the Web Science Institute. In his speech, Professor Carr drew our attention to the development of the Web and the need to look at the Web not only from the perspective of how the Web changed the world, but also how the world changed the Web (something that the Web Science Institute tries to tackle). Following Professor Carr`s presentation, Dr Kieron O’Hara talked about Data Trusts and the need for government and industry to deliver a programme to develop Data Trusts. Dr Kieron O’Hara also mentioned about the Artificial Intelligence Review written by Professor Dame Wendy Hall, Executive Director of the Web Science Institute. Dr George Konstantinidis was the last speaker before the break. Dr Konstantinidis talked mostly about data infrastructure and problems relating with it. Before heading for a short break, Government representatives were given possibility to ask any questions related to the presentations given. Most of their questions related to privacy and personal data. It was great to see their engagement with the academic community.
Although I was not asked to stay for the whole event, there were plenty of other activities planned for the day. This included, among others, a tour of world leading optoelectronics and nanofabrication facility, discussion of digital innovation in optoelectronics and presentation of latest research and real time demonstrator of quantum simulation.