School of Informatics

Edinburgh partners with BBC and UK universities to unlock potential of data

The University of Edinburgh is one of eight UK universities to join a partnership with BBC Research & Development that will apply data science to better understand the BBC's audiences and shape future content.


The Data Research Partnership will build on expertise in speech and language processing at Edinburgh. This is already being applied in an ongoing project with the BBC, Scalable Understanding of Multilingual Media (SUMMA). Coordinated by the University of Edinburgh, SUMMA brings together leading research institutions in natural language processing.

The Data Science Research Partnership will be at the forefront of machine learning in the media industry, helping create a more personalised BBC that can inform, educate and entertain in new ways. The partnership will also collaborate with media and technology organisations from across the UK, Europe and internationally on a range of projects.

The aim is to create a body of research, insights and prototypes that can impact on the BBC and its audiences and help the improve the understanding of audiences and content, personalise the message and design future audience experiences.


The BBC has always been at its best when it combines creativity with technology. As we reinvent the BBC, we can see the opportunities that data and machine learning are opening up for us, our creative talent and our audiences. This partnership will help us break new ground and ensure we continue giving audiences the very best in public service broadcasting well into the future.

Matthew PostgateChief Technology and Product Officer, BBC


Speech and language is a big part of what we do in Edinburgh. Through the School of Informatics and the new Bayes Centre for Data Science and Technology we are working with leading organisations such as the BBC to develop new interaction between people, data and systems.

Professor Jon OberlanderAssistant Principal for Data Technology


Through our work on the SUMMA project, we are applying next-generation data science to help people monitor and understand media content that is broadcast in multiple languages. This new partnership will open many other exciting collaborations with the BBC.

Professor Steve RenalsSchool of Informatics

The partnership brings together industry experts from across the BBC and world-leading UK data scientists from the Universities of Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh and Surrey, Imperial College London, Queen Mary University of London, Ulster University and University College London.

Related links

University joins BBC data science partnership