Media giant Reed Elsevier is set to join forces with London’s biggest university, University College London, to share knowledge and technology on data and analytics.
The creation of the UCL Big Data Institute will see staff from Reed’s Elsevier subsidiary collaborate with UCL academics and fund research. Elsevier chief executive Ron Mobed said there was great potential for Elsevier to share the vast amount of scientific and public data it holds (around 200 terabytes compared with Wikipedia’s six terabytes).
He added that the collaboration showed how London can be the base for a big media and technology company to work with university researchers and venture capital-backed start-ups.
Elsevier’s investment is “substantial”, and thought to be more than £10 million. The business, which publishes The Lancet and New Scientist magazines, is also keen for its subsidiary Mendeley, the London academic social networking business that it bought this year for up to £65 million, to play a part in the Big Data Institute.
Mobed said the company has already spent “hundreds of millions” on its data business. He added that he was convinced the UCL investment should pay off because “if we can find better ways to service our customers, that’s good for business”.
Science minister David Willetts, who attended today’s launch, said it was crucial for Britain “to take full advantage of the big data revolution and stay ahead in the global race”.