The Queensland University of Technology has launched a new Centre for Data Science to enhance its faculties’ data-based research and advance its work with the state government and United Nations.
Led by distinguished professor of statistics, Kerrie Mengersen, the centre will initially set up a network at the university to support data-led led decisions across key areas like health, environment, business, government and society.
It will also form the lead node of a new Australian Data Science Network, bringing together data science organisations from across the country.
While the centre only officially launched on Friday following the inaugural Data Science and Social Good symposium, Mengersen said a number of flagship projects are already underway.
“At the top of that list is a first of its kind study into Queen’s Wharf Brisbane (QWB), a $3.6 billion integrated resort development in the Brisbane CBD,” Mengersen said.
The QWB development will contain hotel and residential accommodation, a casino, retail and entertainment areas, and a new public space.
A longitudinal benefits and impacts study (LBIS), jointly initiated by QUT and the Queensland government, is monitoring the social and economic effects of the QWB development from the outset.
“The intention is to record these outcomes over a significant time span, allowing decision makers to proactively plan, coordinate, manage and improve the development,” she said.
Key areas of the study include connectivity, safety, public sentiment, finance and construction, and tourism and business returns - forming the basis of an analytical framework which could be readily applied to other significant multi-purpose developments.
“The study is a unique and critical strategic framework for evidence-based monitoring and decision-making that can be applied where any large-scale infrastructure projects are being considered,” Mengersen said, adding that this is just one example of the work expected to be carried out at the centre.
“Our vision is to be a national and global leader in the development of frontier methods for the purposeful application of data to make a sustained societal impact.”
Some of those projects, which are still in development, include an initiative with the United Nations to help countries use satellite data for agricultural development, and the Australian Cancer Atlas - an interactive, online atlas showing how the burden of cancer varies across small geographical areas for the whole country.