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@essex.ac.uk | +44 (0) 1206 873704

    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 was Principal Investigator for the Enhancing and Enriching Historic Census Microdata project. He represents the UK on the ESFRI SCI Strategic Working Group, and is a member of the UKRI’s Infrastructure Expert Group.

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    Oliver Duke-Williams

    Service Director, Census

    Oliver directs the UK Data Service team working on census data, who are spread across multiple institutions. He has extensive experience working on the delivery and analysis of census data, specialising in census origin-destination data. He is an Associate Professor in Digital Information Studies at UCL, and is also a Senior Advisor to the Centre for Longitudinal Study Information and User Support, which facilitates research access to the ONS Longitudinal Study, a linked sample of census data from 1971 onwards.

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    Neil Dymond-Green

    Service Director, Impact

    Neil leads the Impact team's discovery and evidencing of the impact of research undertaken using the data in the UK Data Service collection, as well as the impact of the Service's infrastructure. Prior to working in the impact team, Neil gained a range of experience of teaching, training, resource creation and evaluation in both the education and cultural sectors.

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    Gemma Hakins

    Service Director, Engagement and Communications

    ghakins@essex.ac.uk | +44 (0) 1206 873117

    Gemma heads up the team dedicated to promoting the UK Data Service and supporting all communications needs. A chartered marketer since 2010, Gemma has 20 years’ international marketing experience across Health, Central Government, Higher Education, Charity and Telecommunications sectors. She is also an Associate Director of the UK Data Archive, lead partner of the UK Data Service, based at the University of Essex.

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    Vanessa Higgins

    Service Director, User Support and Training

    Vanessa leads the team dedicated to delivering a programme of training events, web-based training resources and online help for researchers and teachers using the data. Vanessa is a Senior Research Fellow at the Cathie Marsh Institute for Social Research, a UK Data Service partner based at the University of Manchester. Vanessa is an experienced social researcher who specialises in health research using cross-sectional survey data. She previously worked at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) as a researcher on large-scale national surveys. Vanessa also teaches and supervises MSc students within the Cathie Marsh Institute. For more info see Vanessa’s external profile.

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    David Martin

    Deputy Director

    David brings a wealth of knowledge about UK census and geographical data, having worked closely with the Office for National Statistics for many years and having previously 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 oversight 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 Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and from 2010-16 was a member of ESRC Council. In 2019 David was awarded an OBE for services to Geography and Population Studies.

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    Victoria Moody

    Deputy Director and Co-Investigator

    Victoria is Director of research and innovation sector strategy at Jisc where she leads the development, promotion and embedding of Jisc’s research and innovation sector strategy within Jisc, with stakeholders such as funders and research leaders and researchers. Victoria represents Jisc and its research and innovation activity in the UK and overseas, proactively engaging and influencing funders, policy makers and other stakeholders in a way that furthers the interests of Jisc and its members. Victoria is co-investigator and deputy director of the UK Data Service. She brings expertise in research management and impact, research data management, developing open data resources and information access rights in the public sector, and also public and voluntary sector policy development.

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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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