The CDRC Masters Research Dissertation Programme 2016: Call for Industry Projects

CDRC logoFollowing another successful year of the Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC) Masters Research Dissertation Programme, we are now seeking proposals from businesses for new projects due to commence next spring (2016).

CDRC are aiming to open the application process for masters students in January and to therefore encourage applicants from a wider breadth of disciplines and institutions. The application process will be facilitated on the CDRC website and you will be encouraged to interview/select successful applicants in early 2016.

This presents a great opportunity to get a Masters student to help you to make progress with:

  • Major current issues, such as multi-channel marketing, customer insight, store networks, transport, surveys, social media, brand insight, predictive modelling and many others.
  • ‘horizon scanning’ projects that are not of the highest priority in the day-to-day work schedules
  • Working with data – both your own in-house data, and also maximising the value to be obtained from Open Data or data from government or administrative sources (available through the CDRC)

It also publicises your company’s interest in students with data skills.

Previous experience illustrates the main features of the initiative:

If you have a project in mind, please complete the project proposal form (available via the link below) and email it to Guy Lansley at g.lansley@ucl.ac.uk by the start of December. All proposals need to be approved before they can be publicised to ensure that the students can maximise the academic potential from their dissertations. Alternatively, feel free to email Guy informally if you have any rough ideas for projects and would like to discuss.

For more information on the programme visit: https://www.cdrc.ac.uk/retail-masters/information-for-retailers/

Please Download the Masters-Research-Dissertation-Programme-2016-Project-Proposal-Application form here.

Who won the SLA Undergraduate award?

We are delighted to announce the winners of the first SLA Undergraduate Award competition run by the Society for Location Analysis.

Jonathan Reynolds, SLA Chairman and Lecturer at Oxford University presents awards to Jamie Tasker and Lauren Parker with fellow judge and awards advocate Luke Burns of Leeds University
Jonathan Reynolds, SLA Chairman and Lecturer at Oxford University presents awards to Jamie Tasker and Lauren Parker with fellow judge and awards advocate Luke Burns of Leeds University

All the entries were of a very high standard and the decision was tough but the judges agreed unanimously on their choice for the top three so congratulations to our winners.

  1. GOLD – Jamie Tasker – University of Leeds
  2. SLA Undergraduate Gold award winner  - Jamie Tasker, Leeds Uni
    Gold – Jamie Tasker, Leeds Uni
    His undergraduate dissertation was entitled ‘Analysing the Middle Geography of Click and Collect: The Future of Convenience Retailing?’

    Brief synopsis: – To some observers in the early 21st century, the Internet was seen as an all-consuming force that would eventually replace traditional brick-and-mortar stores. This theory was not just blind optimism as evidenced by the 1,779 UK store closures since 2012. In order to survive in the digital era, traditional retailers need to catalyse innovation by combining modern technologies with their existing network of physical stores.

    Click and collect is an example of retail modernisation that allows the consumer to overcome a large number of drawbacks associated with the physical store and online delivery. The crucial advantage of the service however, is that collection does not need to be anchored to brick-and-mortar outlets. We are now beginning to witness the rise of retail within spaces such as train stations, the London Underground, petrol stations and schools. The introduction of collection points that integrate into the everyday lives of consumers are creating a ‘middle geography’ between customers and retailers. Indeed, this concept has the potential to solve many current issues associated with access, catchment areas and land use policy.
    Although some observers have commented on the advantages and disadvantages of traditional the click and collect model inside physical stores, studies regarding the potential of this middle geography are sorely absent. This analysis aims to rectify this, deploying a quantitative based study revolving around a hypothetical partnership between a major UK grocery retailer and petrol station operator. The study aims to prove the fantastic contribution this ‘middle geography’ can add to convenience retailing.

    You can download his full entry form here: Gold winner – Jame Tasker – Leeds.

  3. SILVER – Lauren Parker – Manchester Metropolitan University
  4. Silver - Lauren Parker - Manchester University
    Silver – Lauren Parker – Manchester University

    Lauren’s dissertation title was ‘Higher Educational Institutions Mapping (Universities)’.

    Brief synopsis: The aim of the project is to capture the spatial distribution of students in higher educational institutes across the UK and NI for the use by field based analysts in the assessment of potential Co-Operative Food sites. The data will aim to enrich current data surrounding the location of Universities in an attempt to gain the best local knowledge about an areas student population. With the launch of the Co-Operative NUS student 10% discount, it seems apt to understand where these customers are and in what volumes.

    Data is pulled from a variety of sources including UCAS, HESA and University websites. The presentation of the data is in the form of 5 shapefiles under one ‘Universities’ layer; this includes University Main site, University campuses, University student unions, University owned/managed accommodation and Privately owned/managed accommodation.

    This data differs from current datasets as it includes numbers of students at various locations as opposed to a student number geolocated to one singular location. University campus data captures populations by mode (part time/full time), Level (Undergraduate/Postgraduate) and staff by full/part time. Rationale surrounding including this detail surrounds understanding that different cohorts shop Co-Operative differently in terms of basket spend, time of day and basket contents.

    Accommodation data includes data including what company/institute manages it, whether it is self-catered, catered, mixed or part catered and the maximum capacity of the accommodation. This data was included upon the basis that spend will be different dependant on these factors ie. Students in catered accommodation will have different basket content and spend.

    All data includes a ‘notes’ section which is a freetype column included to add any details deemed relevant ie ‘Accommodation opened recently’, ‘postgraduates only’ or ’52 week contract’. This is to enrich the local knowledge further in order to aid assessment by analysts.

    You can download Lauren’s application here: Silver Winner – Lauren Parker – Manchester

  5. BRONZE – Taylor Day – University of Southampton
  6. Taylor’s dissertation was entitled, “A Multidimensional Study Analysing the Urban-Rural Differences in Ambulance Access in South-West England”

    Brief synopsis: The South-Western Ambulance Service Trust (SWAST) was consistently failing to reach the national Category A response targets, of attending to 75% of incidents within 8 minutes and 95% within 19 minutes, following its adoption of a neighbouring trust. The rurality of its catchment ensures that the provision of an efficient ambulance response remains difficult. This research aimed to analyse ambulance access, using a multidimensional approach, to investigate the urban-rural differences between Dartmoor and Exeter, south-west England.

    Within ArcGIS 10.2.2, the first dimension, accessibility, was analysed by calculating ambulance response times to each Population-Weighted Centroid (PWC) and road traffic collision using the ‘Closest Facility’ tool. This revealed that response times were greater in Dartmoor and that 75% of Category A incidents were not responded to within 8 minutes, thus failing to achieve the national target. Using the ‘Location-Allocation’ tool, standby ambulances were placed at strategic locations to reduce response times in Dartmoor by 3.8 minutes and allowing the national target to be achieved.

    The second dimension, availability, was analysed using the Enhanced Two-Step Floating Catchment Area (E2SFCA) and the Two-Step Floating Catchment Area (2SFCA) methods: a concept not previously applied to ambulances. A value was derived for each PWC, which is a function of the number of ambulances which can access each PWC, and the number of people these ambulances can reach, within 19 minutes. These methods successfully identified areas which appeared to have either an insufficient or abundant number of available ambulances.

    Combined, analysing the two dimensions of access is integral for ambulance services struggling to achieve the national targets. Abundant ambulances in one area, highlighted by the availability analysis, can be redistributed to the standby locations, depicted during the accessibility analysis, to improve ambulance response times.

    Sadly Taylor wasn’t able to attend so we don’t have a photograph of him but you can still read his application here: Bronze winner – Taylor Day – Southampton

Well done to all our winners and those who entered and didn’t get placed. We really enjoyed reading all your entries and we were delighted with the number of applications and diversity and quality of dissertations submitted.

We will be running the competition again next year so please help us to spread awareness and encourage innovation in site location analysis.

SLA Undergraduate Awards 2015 – enter by Fri 31st July!

The Society for Location Analysis (SLA) is delighted to announce its inaugural Undergraduate Awards competition for 2015. These awards are designed to reward final year undergraduate students who have achieved excellence in the broad field of location analysis. The awards are open to final year students registered at UK Universities in the 2014/15 academic year and undertaking dissertations or extended projects involving location analysis. The society will award three levels of prize: Gold, Silver and Bronze to the top three entries as judged by an expert panel. These should make both academic and practical contributions to the field. The three winners will also be invited to attend an upcoming SLA event to meet members, network and deliver a short (informal) presentation of the winning research.

Students in any subject area are invited to apply providing that they meet the above criteria. Example subjects may include (but are not exclusive to) geography, demographics, GIS, business and management.

Entries are by application form only (downloadable on this page) and require all fields to be completed. Completed forms should be sent to Ruth Holroyd, SLA Secretary, at Info@thesla.org by no later than the closing date of Friday 31st July 2015, 5pm. Informal enquiries/questions can be directed to Dr. Luke Burns at L.P.Burns@leeds.ac.uk.

Students are invited to put forward their own application for this award.

We hope you will consider putting your location analysis work forward for consideration or promoting it to those who may be eligible and thank you for your interest in the society. Good luck!

Documents available for download:

  1. SLA Undergraduate Awards 2015 Application form
  2. The SLA Undergraduate Award Promotional Poster

Retail Research Masters Dissertation Competition 2015

If you’re interested in the SLA Undergraduate Awards you may also be interested in The Retail Research Masters Dissertation competition.

This offers an exciting opportunity to link students on Masters courses and their university supervisors with leading retail companies on projects which are important to the retail industry. The scheme provides the opportunity to work directly with an industrial partner and to link students’ research to important retail and ‘open data’ sources. The project titles are devised by retailers and are open to students from a wide range of disciplines. The research will take place over spring/summer 2015.

Please note: We have extended the deadline for entering until Friday 31st July.

Happy New Year 2015 from The Society for Location Analysis

The SLA's Jonathan Reynolds hands over the engraved Tankard to outgoing Chair Peter Sleight
Jonathan Reynolds hands over the engraved Tankard to outgoing Chair Peter Sleight
A very happy new year. I wanted to take this opportunity to write and introduce myself as the incoming Chair of the Society for Location Analysis, taking over from Peter Sleight who, as many of you will know, retired last year. I’d like to express my appreciation to Peter for his tremendous work for SLA; we were able to thank him in person late last year with a tankard which, I understand, he is already putting to good use!
Peter Sleight proudly showing off his long service tankard
Peter Sleight proudly showing off his long service tankard

Peter’s enthusiasm for the SLA since its inception and his tireless energy and wisdom (not to mention persuasive powers) in delivering a schedule of events and speakers for the Society over the years have been enormously impressive.

And it seems that you all agreed: last year, all our events scored over 90% good or very good for both relevance of subjects and quality of speakers.

So Peter has set the bar high for 2015!

2015 event schedule

Over the next few weeks, the society’s advisory group will be finalising the 2015 schedule. We’re already grateful to many of you for the suggestions you have made for activities and events you would like to see included. Amongst these will be some “All You Need to Know About…” sessions, a new public sector event, some more joint events with the SPR, as well as benefiting from the research undertaken by the new ESRC Consumer Data Research Centre http://cdrc.ac.uk.


We’ll also be running an award for the best undergraduate thesis on location analysis – to encourage the best students to think about careers in the sector.

Have your say

We’d like to hear from you about particular topics you would like us to cover as well as anyone who think they may be able to host a meeting. As you know, we are also reliant on the goodwill of some member organisations to provide venues in London and elsewhere. Please email me on jonathan.reynolds@sbs.ox.ac.uk, or any other member of the group, with your ideas or if you are able to help. Members include: Jack Streenstra jack.steenstra@zen.co.uk, Steve Scholey Steve@scholeyspace.fsnet.co.uk, Andy Metherell andymeth@hotmail.com and Anthony Hunt Antony.Hunt@co-operative.coop.

We need more members

We have over 350 members in the UK and internationally. But there’s always room for more: if there are new colleagues in your departments or units who you think would benefit from joining, then do let them know about the benefits of membership: https://thesla.org/about. Also, if you’ve moved – please let us know!

Job adverts

Ruth Holroyd remains our Administrator info@thesla.org and takes care of all our events, the website and job advertising service. The price of our job advertising service remains the same as it has been now for many years – and at £495 it’s very reasonable but still makes a significant contribution to covering some of our costs. Are you looking for staff? Do consider our vacancy service; other customers have had very good responses. To find out what companies who have used the service say visit: http://www.thesla..org/job-advert-testimonials/

Member benefits

We’re are also able to offer individual members 10% off the annual 3-day Retail Location Analysis course run at Oxford University, which this year is scheduled for 27-29 April 2015. More details here: http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/programmes/execed/rla

With all good wishes for 2015.

Kind regards

Jonathan Reynolds
The Society for Location Analysis

What are the Jon Walker Awards and why should I be interested?

It became apparent after last night’s SLA meeting that many of you don’t know what the Jon Walker Awards are all about. They’ve been running now for 4 years and this year will bring us our fifth winner but we need you, our members, to support the awards for them to continue. The award is really important to us at The Society of Location Analysis for a number of reasons.

Who was Jon Walker?

Firstly, remembering Jon. So who was Jon? I’m sure some of you will remember Jon but for those of you have joined recently or who didn’t meet him, Jon was a founding member of the SLA when the idea was created in a conversation with Christine Reeves (Tesco) and Mark Teale (CBRE) many years ago. He helped form its values and philosophy, and was an active participant at the SLA meetings and social gatherings. Sadly Jon Walker passed away on the evening of Monday 22nd March 2010 after 15 months fighting cancer. The awards are a way of remembering Jon in a positive way and celebrating all that was important to him – innovation in site location, clever use of data, software development and taking his ideas into different areas, but above all exploring, learning and enjoying location analysis. That’s the most important thing – he loved what he did. You can find out more about Jon and the awards here.

Reward your colleagues and peers

So far the award has been won by Claire Dickinson of GMAP, Jack Steensta ex Abbey/Santander, Blair Freebairn of GeoLytix and Martin Clarke from the University of Leeds. You can read more about the previous winners and why they won here.

We know there are some really clever people amongst our membership and we also know that some of you are doing innovative work. We want to celebrate that, reward people who are doing some really smart and inspirational work, as well as wanting to encourage others to try out new things, work with data and build programmes and projects that help us raise the profile of location analysis.

So, finally, if you can think of someone who you think deserves this award, please nominate them. But you’ve got to be quick!

We hope to announce the winner at the next event on 14th October, which is the SLA/SPR Forum, this year entitled Right Space/Right Place?

Invitations to this will be coming out shortly but please book your place in the usual way, email info@thesla.org

It should only take a few minutes to nominate someone. Get your thinking caps on and nominate today.
You’ve only got until the end of September.

We look forward to seeing some nominations.

SLA discount at The SPR Property Research Course, Cambridge, 27-28th Nov

… in conjunction with University of Cambridge

Property Research in the Real World: Practical Applications
Society of Property Researchers logo
A two-day residential course based at Madingley Hall, University of Cambridge, 27-28th November 2014.

Research plays a vital role in businesses involved in the global property market. Effective property researchers provide advice and analysis that informs investment decisions, impacting on the bottom line. This intensive, short course will equip you with the skills you need to take your career in property research to the next level.

Property Research in the Real World: Practical Applications has been designed to focus on applying research approaches to property, covering property data sources and definitions, applied exercises and where property research fits into different organisations and processes.

This course has a global scope, exploring investment and finance considerations relating to property.
The course is divided into three “modules”, delivered by leading industry and academic experts over two days. At the end of the course, you will participate in a practical team exercise to create a market strategy with the guidance of an industry team leader.

SLA Members are entitled to an introductory offer of 10% off the full course fee of £1,100 (valid until 7th November 2014).

For more information about this course and how to apply please see attached leaflet and visit www.ice.cam.ac.uk/property-research

Download the brochure here.

Retailers: Do you have projects now that Master’s students can help you to progress this spring & summer?

If you work for a UK retail company, this is an opportunity for you.

The ESRC’s “Retail Research & Data” initiative, which involved commercial companies proposing projects for Masters’ students, was a real success in both 2012 and 2013, and Professor Paul Longley & I are pleased to report that the ESRC has decided to support this initiative in the longer term.

We are therefore seeking proposals for new projects as soon as possible.

This presents a great opportunity to get a Master’s student to help you to make progress with:

  • Major current issues, such as multi-channel marketing and customer insight, store networks, transport, social media, and many others.
  • Projects that you’ve long had in mind, but not had the resource to carry out.
  • Working with data – both your own customer data, and also maximising the value to be obtained from government initiatives such as http://www.data.gov.uk/, and the arrival of more 2011 Census statistics (including Daytime and Workplace populations) for the whole UK.

If you have a project in mind, please email me ASAP (ideally by this Friday 31 January) at dugmore@demographic.co.uk and I’ll send you a Project Proposal Form.

It’s essential to move quickly on this, to publicise projects early and get the choice of the best students.

Our previous experience illustrates the main features of the initiative:

Retailers – here’s a website to help you to find free UK Open Data easily

The purpose of Retail Research Data (RRD) website is to enable insight and store location analysts working in retail organisations in the UK to get easy access to free datasets which may be of value to their businesses. It is funded as part of the Economic and Social Research Council’s commitment to retail research.

The website has links to 6 types of data:

  1. Small area geodemographic classifications – such as the preliminary 2011 Output Area Classification (OAC)
  2. Small area statistics – particularly from the 2011 Census, on many topics
  3. Lists of addresses, with postcodes, and places
  4. Postcode directories – for linking postcoded addresses (including customer records) to Output Areas and other geographical areas, or to grid references for mapping
  5. Map data – digital boundaries (such as Output Areas), and also background mapping
  6. Sample surveys – giving lots of detail about particular topics

RRD also includes a mapping facility to view the Classifications and Small Area Statistics for the United Kingdom and its constituent countries.

Here’s the link: http://www.retailresearchdata.com/

10% discount on the RLA training programme 2014 – last few places left

28th Retail Location Analysis programme – Oxford, 28-30th April 2014

We are delighted to let you know that this year, all members of the SLA are entitled to a 10% discount off the 28th Retail Location Analysis programme in Oxford from 28-30 April 2014 and there are still some places left.

This training programme is unique with a deliberately small-scale approach to encourage debate and we now have limited availability remaining.

Don’t miss out on this excellent offer as places are going fast.

We believe that our three-day residential programme is the only one of its kind. Our tried and tested, deliberately small-scale approach, encourages discussion with speakers and individual learning through techniques workshops. I will be running the programme in tandem with Dr David Rogers from DSR Marketing Systems in the US. Between us, we have over 50 years of experience in site location issues. Other contributions are made by visiting practitioners and experts. And for the fourth year running, we are delighted that location planning experts from CACI are supporting the programme.

Up-to-date course information is available on our website, where you can also download the programme brochure.

You can apply for the programme online or you can email my colleague, Joanne Evans for an application form or more details at joanne.evans@sbs.ox.ac.uk.

If you have already been in touch or are already booked to attend please accept our apologies and we wish you a very Happy New Year for 2014.

Best wishes

Jonathan Reynolds
Academic Director, Oxford Institute of Retail Management
Sad Business School
University of Oxford

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