An aim of CUSP London is to use the specialist urban informatics skills of our researchers and students in service to the London public sector organisations we partner with. A notable partner this past year has been the London Ambulance Service (LAS) with whom we have not only explored particular topics of priority to them through research and student projects, but gone one step further and put effort into ensuring these efforts improve the day-to-day operation of the LAS.

Alex Wielochowski, Senior Data Scientist at the LAS said “Our collaboration with CUSP London allows us to work alongside an organisation and students that know the forefront of the analytical possibility. Together we can undertake projects that use our subject matter expertise alongside students and interns to develop analyses that can be directly integrated into our work processes or provide preliminary findings that our internal data science team can develop further.”

In March 2019, we held a four-day Data Dive in which student teams tackled issues ranging from predicting demand on emergency response resources to better understanding LAS staff retention. Events such as this have a danger of stopping with preliminary insights that then are not pursued further as people move on to other concerns. We avoided this by funding two students to continue to develop the software produced by the teams over summer 2019, working closely with LAS data science staff. The students created software that produce data analysis reports on how the spatial demand from patients on ambulance services across London, and software that provides workforce planning data analytics such as highlighting impacts on staff retention. By working with the LAS team, they could ensure the software is of practical regular use.

Alongside this, others conducted analysis projects producing preliminary insights that the LAS team can build on, in particular around how to derive more knowledge on patients’ situations from real-time data sources, and on how to understand how socio-economic characteristics across London are predictive of patients needs to influence how LAS operates in different areas.

This collaboration is ongoing with more projects underway, including a PhD hosted in CUSP London and supervised by members of Geography and the LAS, and undergraduate and masters projects to foster further opportunities for engagement.

Dr Simon Miles 
Director – CUSP London