The facility will train data analysts and aim to inform climate change issues.
The University of Reading is set to open a £20m big data research centre early next year.
The institution’s world-class centre will aim to turn huge environmental datasets into commercially viable ideas and bridge the gap between British environment researchers and policy makers tackling issues such as climate change and declining food availability.
While the centre will pull big data from computational modelling, satellite and earth observation research to do this, it will also train a new generation of data analysts, the university said.
Vice-Chancellor Sir David Bell said: "Data underpins our economy, driving scientific discovery and growth – that’s why the UK needs to the research base to handle massive data volumes and be able to turn them into viable business concepts.
"This new centre will address this innovation gap, unlocking the potential of the UK’s world-leading environmental science research base to drive innovation, economic growth and jobs. It will also build a cadre of highly-skilled analysts – with industrial experience, business nous and outstanding scientific expertise."
The £20m funding for the facility will come piecemeal, with £5.6m coming from a Higher Education Funding Council initiative called Catalyst Fund, and an additional £7.15m from group of 13 "partners" led by the university, which seeks to leverage at least £20m in new investment by 2020.
The news comes after the Government allocated £42m for the as-yet unopened Alan Turing Institute, to research big data and train data scientists as it tries to make the UK a centre of big data innovation.
Picture courtesy of the University of Reading