The St Andrews Institute for Data-Intensive Research (IDIR) was set up in September 2014 to provide a focus for research and teaching activities across the University driven by access to “big data”.

IDIR came about after we realised that there was an enormous volume of activity happening across the University that could broadly be described as data-driven: from data science, through digital humanities and digital social science, to digital medicine. All of these activities share common characteristics. They are tightly embedded into the traditional Schools and disciplines in which St Andrews operates, but are exploring new techniques and opportunities brought about by the availability of large volumes of data and the processing power needed to manipulate them.

While many universities are investing in big data for science and medicine, we realised that we needed something broader, that would bring our strengths in humanities and social sciences together with our computer, mathematical, life, and physical scientists to share insights and techniques. This extends from our established researchers through to our postdocs and new research students: every researcher increasingly needs to be aware of what data can — and indeed can’t — do for their discipline. IDIR is the result.