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KPMG and Imperial College launch £20m data science partnership


London: KPMG and Imperial College London today announced the launch of a major new partnership to create the 'KPMG Centre for Advanced Business Analytics'. KPMG will invest over £20m, with the aim of putting the UK at the forefront of data science.

The project will focus on five key areas — analysis of business capital, growth opportunities, people, operations and resilience. Each area has been selected to help UK businesses gain a competitive edge by launching products and services ahead of international competitors.

The new KPMG Centre will also develop innovative approaches, analytical methods and tools for using big data, giving UK businesses the opportunity to solve complex issues, such as enabling banks to predict fraud or helping retailers better understand consumer behaviour.

The eight year project will see a joint team working together, with the ambition of completing 15-20 projects per year. Over the life of the project 800 PhD students will be trained at the College to become tomorrow's brightest data scientists.

The Centre will be led by researchers at Imperial College Business School as part of the College's Data Science Institute, which is developing new data science methods and technologies and supporting world class data-driven research.


As part of the launch, KPMG and Imperial are unveiling a number of initiatives — the first of which is a Global Data Observatory. Created to bring large and complex amounts of data together with data visualisation capabilities, it will allow researchers to spot patterns and get real insights into complex business issues.

Simon Collins, UK Chairman and Senior Partner at KPMG commented, "More data has been created in the last two years than in the rest of history. That's amazing but we can all drown in data unless we know what to do with it. Our collaboration with Imperial is about developing the people and skills to use that data to drive new industries and new services. It is immensely exciting for the UK economy and we are very proud to be leading in this crucial area."

Enormity and complexity

Alwin Magimay, KPMG UK Head of Digital and Analytics, added, "Our clients are facing the enormity and complexity of big-data and our partnership with Imperial will help our clients meet this challenge. The fact is that one in five of the UK's largest companies now measure the value of corporate data on their balance sheets. Businesses realise that finding better ways of analysing data is the key to unlocking its profitability and we hope to help them unleash new waves of productivity, growth and innovation.

"Our new Global Data Observatory, for example, will act as 'the Hubble of Business Data', offering a unique platform to use leading analytical methods and solve complex business issues. We are still at the silent movie era with respect to evolution of big-data and together with Imperial, we will break new ground with a simple objective of generating new insights to create new business value for our clients."

Professor G 'Anand' Anandalingam, Dean of Imperial College Business School, concluded, "For businesses to compete in a globalised economy they need a full understanding of markets, customers, products, regulations, competitors, employees and much more. The effective use of information and analytics is key to this in order for companies to develop, grow and innovate.

"However, processing huge swathes of data is a major challenge for leading businesses. Today's datasets are so big and complex to process that they require new ideas, tools and infrastructures. The KPMG Centre for Advanced Business Analytics aims to address these challenges by looking at how we can translate complicated information and turn it into potential solutions. Doing this successfully could help businesses solve a range of issues and develop more commercial ideas."

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