Circle Case study

Using data and analysis to support Lancaster University Future Places Centre

Robust, current geodemographic insight

The Future Places Centre (FPC) builds on Lancaster University’s pioneering projects on pervasive computing, the Internet of Things (the IoT) and the natural environment, on ‘futures thinking’ and data science. Funded by the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) the FPC works to create a portfolio of applied research endeavours that help the University and the communities it serves better understand the places in which they exist.

The Challenge

Professor Richard Harper is Co-Director of the Institute for Social Futures at Lancaster University. He explains: “We need research data to help energise the change agenda in the North West for space and place. We want data both for measurement and to help us reimagine the environment and community and see things differently. It’s a broad remit.”

Senior Research Associate and Data scientist Jan Hollinshead had used CACI data in previous commercial roles. She approached CACI to talk about how the data might be applied in the context of academic research. “We’re looking at how to segment the human population, so profiling data for the community seemed really relevant. We decided to take the CACI data for a year, to see whether it delivered value for our projects.”

The Solution

Richard says, “We’ve used the data as a resource that brings together sociodemographic information to categorise the communities around Morecambe Bay. Because our project is about making changes over a five-year period, it provides an essential baseline measure.”

The team also used it to challenge assumptions about the characteristics and economy of towns and sociodemographic groups around the Bay. This can help them focus more effectively and objectively on the most pressing issues and opportunities to investigate.

Acorn helps the Future Places Centre team to understand the demographics of residents and communities in focus project areas, so they can attract a diverse range of people to those areas.

The Benefits

Richard explains:

CACI’s data is an objective third party resource that gives clear socio-demographic profiling linked to maps – it’s an invaluable tool for us and our partners in the Future Places Centre. It’s a trusted baseline that helps us see where we need to create more specialised research for particular project requirements. Overall, it’s helping us identify issues and opportunities that will make our region healthier and more sustainable over the coming five years.

Professor Richard Harper, Co-Director of the Institute for Social Futures at Lancaster University

Find out more

To find out more on how CACI’s solutions help the Lancaster University Future Places Centre to improve outreach and regional initiatives, read the full case study here. To find out more about how we can help you support your organisation, please get in touch.