In the future Social and Policy Data Sciences will form a critical point of interface between science, policy and society, both in defining the nature of the questions around complex social systems and as research partners with other sciences in providing insights and answers.

Led by the Q-Step Centre, Social and Policy Analytics is an area of both research and teaching growth at Exeter. Purpose built collaborative research and teaching space, secure data facilities and co-location with the Institute for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence and the Global Systems Institute will enable new industry partnerships, the expansion of existing programmes and the development of new, innovative data science focused degree programmes in the social sciences. This will sit alongside research collaborations that will thrive, creating a centre of excellence for data driven social science.

We seek to do this through:

  • Building a cutting edge social science infrastructure that fosters a flourishing community of data driven social science researchers.

  • Applying the tools of social science (data analytics, advanced modelling, novel research design, and behavioural science) to improve policy-making.

  • Promoting innovative teaching and learning in data driven research methods.

  • Training the next generation of social science researchers in state of the art research methods and their application to major policy and social challenges.

  • Working with partners from business, industry and the public sector to see graduates employed locally and contribute to the region aspirations to become a world leader in the data analysis sector.


Members of Q-Step have worked with the Devon and Cornwall Police, the College of Policing and the Home Office to improve how data is collected and analysed to improve policing practice. There continues to be an unmet demand in the public and third sector for data skills.