Dr Federico Botta

Exeter Data Science expert secures prestigious Downing Street Research Fellowship

A data science expert from the University of Exeter has secured a prestigious new Fellowship, designed to help shape Government policy. 

Dr Federico Botta is one of two new recipients of the inaugural No.10 Downing Street Data Science Fellowships, announced today (November 18th 2021). 

Dr Botta will spend a year collaborating with 10 Downing Street’s data science team (10DS) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS).  

Together with Dr Robin Lovelace from the University of Leeds, Dr Botta will co-design research and produce analysis using new and existing linked administrative datasets to inform policy.  

The Fellows will also champion data science across central government and help strengthen important engagement between government and academia in the UK.  

The work will use cutting edge methods to help inform decision making on the most pressing policy problems of our time and support wider knowledge exchange with researchers on effective policy collaboration and data analysis.  

Dr Botta will work closely with Downing Street and ONS’ Data Science Campus to formulate research projects before starting his secondment on 1 January 2022.  

Dr Botta, a Lecturer in Data Science in Exeter’s Computer Science department said: “I am really excited to collaborate with the 10 Downing Street’s Data Science Team and the Office for National Statistics Data Science Campus on this fellowship.

“This will be a unique opportunity to use cutting edge data science to support the design and evidence base of government policies. I’m really looking forward to working on key policy challenges and using data science for the public good.” 

Dr Botta studies human behaviour at the individual and collective levels using novel data streams, such as those derived from the internet and our use of digital technologies. He uses tools from data science, network theory and behavioural and computational social sciences to analyze large datasets and investigate different aspects of human behaviour and urban environments.  

Federico is also a fellow of The Alan Turing Institute. 

Alex Jones, Head of Evidence and Transformation (10DS) at 10 Downing Street said: “The UK’s universities are home to world-class data science skills and talent.  

“We are seeing ever increasing demand for this expertise in government, and I’m delighted that through this scheme, No.10, as well as the ONS and other departments will be able to benefit from the specialist expertise of Federico and Robin.”  

Date: 18 November 2021

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