The University of Brighton, always possible and special guests have an informal debate on the role of data in helping businesses to affect change in public policy.

Politicians, we are now told, simply ‘follow the science’. But with ever-increasing reams of data and useful insights, are businesses presenting the evidence they have to the people that make critical decision on economics, society, culture and law?

Some businesses might not realise the value of the data they have generated. Policy-makers might be stuck using out-of-date insights when making future forecasts. We want to explore what a more positive, joined-up data flow looks like.

The questions we ask are:

  • Do policy-makers know how to use business data for long-term planning?
  • How do policy makers use data to make decisions – examples of a policy change or project that has come about directly as a result of decision makers being presented with specific data?
  • What tools help entrepreneurs to get their data understood by the ‘right people’?
  • How can businesses work together to gather and aggregate data to influence policy – what sort of data might be helpful for different types of businesses?


Dr Peter Bleackley

Peter Bleackley gained his PhD in Astrophysics before working at the BBC Research and Development for ten years, where he developed an interest in Artificial Intelligence. Since then, he has worked as a data scientist and algorithm developer for a number of startups and as a freelance contributor to open source data science projects, including the Gensim topic modelling library. He is a regular speaker at the PyData London meetup.

Bonamy Waddell

Bonamy is an expert in data and marketing. She spent 20 years working for international organisations including BMG Music Publishing, L’Oréal and global PR agency Hill+Knowlton Strategies, where she was Senior Vice President, Global Business Development.

Since 2017, Bonamy has worked as an independent research, data and insights consultant, supporting clients who want to understand their data better – delivering impartial insight to enable evidence-based decision making.

Recent clients include WISE, British Pharmacological Society, Greater Brighton MET College, Brighton Chamber and PTSD Resolution.

Dr Haider Raza

Haider Raza has degrees in Computer Science & Engineering from the Integral University, India, Computer Engineering from the Manav Rachna International University, India, and a PhD in computer science from University of Ulster, Northern Ireland.

He is a specialist in neural systems and neuro-technology, MEG-based brain-computer Interfaces – and has worked for the Farr Institute of Health Informatics Research and the University of Essex Business and Local Government Data Research Centre on health data and public policy.


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  DRIVA (Digital Research & Innovation Value Accelerator) is a £1.3m University of Brighton research project funded by the European Structural Investment Fund and Arts Council England that aims to provide technology SMEs, creative arts practitioners and cultural organisations supported and authorised access to Gatwick Airport’s big data.