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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    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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    Gemma Hakins

    Acting Director of Communications and engagement, UK Data Service (and Associate Director, UK Data Archive)

    Gemma heads up the Communications and engagement for both the UK Data Service and UK Data Archive, based at the University of Essex. As Director of Communications she has responsibility for the engagement strategy and key stakeholder relations. Gemma is responsible for promoting and supporting the UK Data Service and Archive, including the Administrative Data Service. Gemma has 20 years’ international marketing expertise and has been a chartered marketer since 2010, initiating and delivering integrated communications with stakeholders across the Health, Central Government, Higher Education, Charity and Telecommunications sectors, including a consultant to the Department of Health across Primary Care and Community Services, and Head of Channel Marketing for BT Australasia.

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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 Institute for Social Research, a UK Data Service partner based at the University of Manchester.

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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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    Victoria Moody

    Deputy Director and Director of Impact

    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 leads the Impact Function of the UK Data Service and is a Deputy Director. Victoria is based at Jisc and 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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    Debora Price

    Deputy Director

    Debora is a Professor of Social Gerontology at the University of Manchester, where she directs MICRA, the Manchester Institute for Collaborative Research on Ageing and is part of the Cathie Marsh Institute for the application of quantitative methods in interdisciplinary social science research. She is President of the British Society of Gerontology and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and the Royal Statistical Society. Her research uses complex analysis of diverse large scale datasets to understand poverty and inequality in later life, and she has taught quantitative research methods to social scientists from undergraduate to PhD level.

Our team

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