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Welsh Government and Nesta create industrial data platform



Arloesiadur developed to provide evidence for policy decisions on high value industries in Wales

The Welsh Government has developed a new data visualisation platform to support policy-making in the industry, research and technology sectors.

It has developed Arloesiadur – Welsh for Innovation Directory – in a project with global innovation foundation Nesta.

This has involved analysis of business datasets from the Office of National Statistics, open data published by Research Councils and Innovate UK, and web data from event platform Meetup.

Nesta said Arloesiadur will make it possible to provide visualisations that can be used in answering questions about Wales’ industrial and research strengths, its collaboration networks and future economic opportunities.

Juan Mateos-Garcia, head of mapping at Nesta, said: “Economists and policy-makers recognise that innovation - the creation and application of new ideas - is one of the main ways to address the big challenges of our time. In order to support this innovation, we need to understand it first.

“With Arloesiadur, we have tried to achieve this with new data sources, data science methods and visualisations, and so far our work suggests that this can generate useful information for innovation policy.

“Moving forward, we need to monitor how they are used by policy-makers, and identify the processes, skillsets and policy instruments that have to be in place to augment their impact.”

Innovation milestone

Welsh Government Minister for Skills and Science Julie James said: “The Arloesiadur collaboration marks an important milestone for developing innovation in Wales and is a clear demonstration of our commitment to our programme for government, Taking Wales Forward. 

“This information can help make important evidence based decisions and develop policies to strengthen innovation in Wales, which will improve productivity and provide a boost to our economic future.”

Among the points to be identified already by the platform is that the number of people working in sectors such as research and development, aerospace and telecommunications in Wales grew from 22,200 in 2011 to 38,500 in 2015.

Also, Wales has become more competitive in scientific and technological areas, with a particularly strong recent showing in engineering and technology, medical sciences and mathematics and computing. Projects in these fields led by Welsh organisations were awarded £71 million in funding in 2015-16, compared with £55 million in 2007-08.

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