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University of Essex

ESRC BLG Data Research Centre

BLG Data Research Centre logo

The ESRC Business and Local Government Data Research Centre is a collaborative project between the Universities of Essex, East Anglia, Kent and the London School of Economics (LSE), funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). External partners include: Essex County Council; Norfolk County Council; Kent County Council; Medway Council; BT; Experian; Lloyds’ Bank and Aviva.   

Established in January 2014, we are one of three centres competitively selected by ESRC to receive a share of £28 million for research on big data, with core funding of £14 million to establish the big data centres in phase II.

Our work

We provide a framework and support for data owners and researchers.

We aim to:

  • become a national centre of expertise for data users across academic and non-academic sectors
  • offer a vibrant environment to foster and enable innovative research
  • support business, local government and academics to harness the potential of complex big data where traditional analysis techniques may not apply

Talk Big Data lecture series

Professor Vania Sena is Director of the centre. In this video, she talks about the opportunities big data can provide the research and business communities.

Our strategy

Our delivery strategy covers four areas:

  • Repository

    Our physical repository, based at the University of Essex, securely stores data from businesses and local authorities. Data routinely collected by business and local government organisations is available to academics, industrial, third sector and government researchers as a national resource to facilitate outstanding social science research that safeguards all individual identities.

  • Research programme

    Our research programme provides methodological advances for the analysis of big data. We facilitate innovative, substantive and inter-disciplinary research on smart, sustainable and inclusive regional economic growth. This research can be used to inform policy development, implementation and evaluation.

  • Training and knowledge exchange

    Our training and knowledge exchange programme offers users a suite of data solutions. From training to consultancy, we help businesses and local government to maximise the value of their data to research the drivers of economic growth and the provision of services.

  • Creating awareness

    Our engagement and communication programme raises awareness of the benefits and costs of using big data, whilst stressing the importance of using data responsibly.


Read our research

Read our latest business research papers in the Essex Research Repository. Explore our publications and see the wide variety of fields we work in, from accounting, finance, management and entrepreneurship to broader societal issues.

Research degree funding

Scientist conducting experiment

Join our internationally recognised research community. We’re home to several doctoral training centres and offer many research degree studentships and scholarships that could make your course fully-funded.

Ask us a question

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Would you like to find out more about our business courses or School? We know how important your choice of university is so ask us a question and our friendly team is on hand to offer support and information.

Doctoral training


Proficio is our innovative doctoral training scheme. Our University gives you funding to spend on a variety of courses, from research skills to personal development and career management.