THE Office for National Statistics (ONS) will today open a new Data Science Campus at its Newport HQ – part of a £17-million investment in statistics.

The campus has been established to use new data sources and technologies and provide statistics for policy makers and businesses about the UK economy and society generally.

It will, say bosses, cement Newport’s reputation as the home of “data science” and “world-class statistics”.

National statistician John Pullinger said: “The Data Science Campus will innovate with new methods and data sources, providing opportunities to improve existing statistics and develop new outputs by working across government, industry, academia and charities in the UK and internationally.

“The wide range of training and learning programmes which the campus will offer will also be central to building data science capability across the UK.

“Through these actions, the campus will help us realise our vision of better statistics for better decisions.”

Campus managing director Tom Smith also said it was part of the ONS’s programme to meet the challenge of providing richer and more real-time statistics.

“We are excited about creating a UK centre for data science here in Newport, building on this as the home of economic statistics,” he added.

“Like every organisation, the ONS needs to develop to meet the demands of a changing world.

“We are investing in present and future jobs here, building data analytics expertise to produce even better statistics that inform decisions affecting everyone, from how governments spend taxpayers’ money to the services we receive.

“Our Newport HQ which, shared with the IPO is Newport’s single largest employer, is getting a £10-million modernisation, reflecting our ongoing commitment to making Newport the home of world-class statistics”.

Plans for the campus were announced last spring as part of ONS’s plans to develop the statistical information it provides.

The site will work on projects within five themes – evolving economy; urban and rural; society; sustainability, and the UK in a global context.

A spokeswoman for the ONS said the Data Science Campus will work with national and international partners from academia, government and business to deliver joint research programmes and to build UK data science capability.

She said that, as part of this, the ONS has set up the first UK Data Analytics apprenticeship scheme and is planning more opportunities to train people in the discipline.

She added: “Guests at the launch will have the opportunity to explore the new Data Science Campus building and to hear from data scientists across ONS, including the apprentices, about the initial projects being carried out, work on understanding the economy and financial sectors, international trade, population flows, and the environment.”