University Lecturer Appointed Academic Ambassador to Data Analytics Firm


Richard Wilkinson, Senior Lecturer in Computing, is one of only seven academics globally, and the only one from the UK, selected for Qlik’s Professor Ambassador Program. This is all part of the Qlik Academic Program and the company’s commitment to improving data literacy globally.  

He joins a network of ambassadors from the USA, Argentina, India, the Netherlands and Sweden in the scheme’s inaugural year.

“It’s a great honour to be chosen and a great opportunity,” said Richard.  “I think that data literacy is something that any country that wants to do well in the world needs to invest in for its students and we have got a real opportunity to be at the forefront of this.

“Data literacy is the next big challenge and the biggest companies in the world are now all data driven. As industry knows it has taken over from oil as the biggest commodity around the world.”

Qlik runs a data analytics platform, but also has an educational arm. Its Academic Program is open to students and academics from accredited universities, and offers free access to Qlik software, training and qualifications. The University signed up to Qlik’s Academic Program two years ago and since then the University’s Business School has been teaching data skills through the programme in both its Computing and Business first year courses.  It enables students to be able to use the software to analyse complex data and extract useful information.

Richard’s ambassador role will involve attending and delivering webinars to share and increase knowledge of how people across the world are using the platform, running sessions and workshops, and supporting other UK educators, such as universities, new to the platform in how to use the programme.

He also hopes to expand knowledge of data literacy across the University so people can build up their skills no matter what subject they are studying.  Richard said data analysis is not just limited to the business world but is actually being used all the time in our day to day lives.

“We’re in the world of Covid-19 and pandemics are modelled by data,” he said. “We’ve spent a year watching data slides and modelling and graphics.  The medical and sporting worlds are driven by data and, in most fields you go into now, data literacy is crucial so in my opinion we need to be teaching data literacy to all of our students everywhere.”