New AI tool to tackle bad data in Life Science policy-making

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A powerful new data research tool has been launched today to better inform policy-makers, strategic investors and companies focused on the UK Life Science industry.

Created by Liverpool-based Impact Data Metrics, IDM Life Sciences provides the first accurate and current view of business activity in the sector.

It is designed to overcome limitations that have long made it difficult to get a true picture of the sector, with even UK Government reports containing inaccurate, incomplete and out-of-date information.

The web-based application uses IDM’s proprietary machine-learning/AI technologies to overcome well-known deficiencies in the data sources that currently underpin sector summaries.

Typically, existing reports rely on registered office addresses for companies which are not necessarily the same as the premises addresses where work is actually done and don’t cover multiple sites of operation.

IDM Life Sciences makes use of the company’s proprietary business premises database that describes the actual operating locations of businesses across the UK. This has a profound effect when the researcher views the UK distribution of business activity on a map.

Furthermore, the new tool overcomes the long-standing problem of an over-reliance on Standard Industrial Classification codes (SIC codes) – a key indicator typically used to identify companies.

SIC codes are inherently flawed because companies self-select which category they belong to, which has resulted in a ‘free for all’ where inaccurate assignment of companies to the sector is all too common.

IDM Life Sciences overcomes this problem by layering additional information that enables accurate characterisation of business activity independent of SIC codes.

This generates a classification that is much more relevant to the shape of the industry, allowing insights to sub-sectors such as diagnostics, R&D, manufacturing or MedTech.

This provides users with a detailed understanding of the size of the Life Science sector with businesses described by location, employment and revenue generation.

The powerful tool also provides a comparable view of research and innovation activity covering funding awards for specific research projects and the associated publication activity of researchers.

Neil Murray, a director of Impact Data Metrics, said: “There’s a need to remove the fog that currently hangs over the understanding of business activity in the UK.

“It affects anyone who wants an accurate picture of the size and location of industry sectors.

Neil Murray

“It’s imperative that decision makers can access data that is timely, accurate and has true granularity.

“With our extensive knowledge of Life Sciences and using our data analytics expertise within IDM, we have created IDM Life Sciences as the first of our industry sector dashboards to simply and intuitively allow users to investigate the elements of the sector that are important to them.

“Our intuitive search facility allows a user to look across all of the available information on businesses.

“So, if you are interested in cancer therapeutics, a simple search will pull out businesses that are operating in that space. In addition, we have enriched this with research & innovation content that highlights who in the UK is receiving grants and publishing in that same space.

“The data intelligence we can provide is exhaustively researched and drawn from multiple sources. IDM Life Sciences is easy to use and the insights that it provides enable users to make better decisions based on the real evidence they need.”

IDM Life Sciences presents data in interactive maps, charts and tables with options for users to export data to other formats.