Our people

The UK Data Service draws on the strengths of expertise of staff based at universities across the nation.

Here are the people and host institutions who lead and support our work.

Our directors

Our strategic and operational directors bring data expertise and experience from centres of excellence across the UK.

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    Matthew Woollard


    Matthew provides strategic direction as Director of both the UK Data Service and the UK Data Archive, based at the University of Essex. He has practical and theoretical experience in all aspects of social science and humanities data service infrastructure, having previously headed the History Data Service and served as Head of Digital Preservation and Systems at the UK Data Archive. As director he has overall responsibility for the service strategy and key stakeholder relations. He also provides leadership in data curation, archiving and preservation activities. He is currently Principal Investigator for the Enhancing and Enriching Historic Census Microdata project and a participant in delivering the 4C project (Collaboration to Clarify the Costs of Curation).

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    Keith Cole

    Deputy Director

    Keith brings a wealth of expertise based on almost 30 years of experience in developing and delivering high quality research data services to the UK social science community. Keith is also Executive Director of Digital Resources at Jisc, a registered charity that champion the use of digital technologies in UK education and research.  In his UK Data Service role, he focuses on strategic leadership in technology-driven activities, provides a focus on international data and manages relationships with institutional repositories and the inter-governmental organisations (IGOs).

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    David Martin

    Deputy Director

    David brings a wealth of knowledge about UK census and geographical data, having most recently served as Coordinator of the ESRC Census Programme. He has particular responsibility for UK Data Service relationships with major stakeholders such as the UK statistical organisations and other key ESRC investments and for the integration of Census Support. A professor of geography at the University of Southampton, he is also Co-Director of the National Centre for Research Methods, a member of ESRC Council and an Academician in the Social Sciences.

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    James Nazroo

    Deputy Director

    James brings an overview of a range of user perspectives to the strategic leadership team of the UK Data Service. He is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research (CCSR) at the University of Manchester. He also has extensive experience of secondary data analysis, generation of survey data and of working across social science and medical disciplines. He previously served as a member of the ESRC Methods and Infrastructure Committee.

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    Louise Corti

    Functional Director, Collections Development and Producer Relations

    Louise leads two teams dedicated to enriching the breadth and quality of the UK Data Service data collection: Collections Development and Producer Support. She is also an associate director of the UK Data Archive with special expertise in research data management and the archiving and reuse of qualitative data. She is currently principal investigator for the Digital Futures project.

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    Nathan Cunningham

    Functional Director, Big Data Network Support

    Nathan leads the UK Data Service capacity building work that supports the Big Data Network. This ensures there are active collaborations, practical consistency of implementation and clear communication priorities between organisations and stakeholder groups. Nathan is responsible for innovating and advocating new methodologies for integrating novel data types (and associated protocols and procedures) into the UK Data Service collection. This includes outputs across the data access spectrum, from highly sensitive linked data to data available under an Open Government Licence.

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    Vanessa Higgins

    Functional Director, User Support and Training

    Vanessa leads the team dedicated to delivering a structured portfolio of data workshops and user meetings in addition to helpdesk support for researchers and teachers using our data. Vanessa is also a research fellow at the Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research, a UK Data Service partner based at the University of Manchester.

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    Katherine McNeill

    Functional Director, Access

    Katherine is responsible for overall strategic leadership of the access and resource discovery functions across all sites affiliated with the UK Data Service. Katherine leads on metadata strategy, incorporating relevant metadata schema for social science data that includes DDI and SDMX and Inspire and also on data citation strategies and implementation. In addition, she oversees the essential functions of our user registration and data access and core help desk support.

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    Victoria Moody

    Functional Director, Communications and Impact

    Victoria leads the Communication and Impact Function of the UK Data Service. Victoria supports the UK Data Service in engaging with data users, data owners and other stakeholders internationally, both academics and policymakers, developing opportunities for enhancing the impact of the UK Data Service. Victoria brings expertise in public and voluntary sector policy development, research impact management, developing open data resources and research data management, and information access rights.

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    John Shepherdson

    Functional Director, Technical Services

    John leads the technical teams at the UK Data Service: Applications, Development and Maintenance (ADM) and Digital Preservation Systems and Security (DPSS). His work covers both internal 'back office' applications for increasing productivity and external user-focused web-based services. He is also an associate director of the UK Data Archive, where he is developing the strategic evolution of the Archive's technical infrastructure.

Our team

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