Mark Birkin is Professor of Spatial Analysis and Policy in the School of Geography, University of Leeds. He has longstanding interests in mathematical modelling of urban and regional systems including geodemographics, microsimulation, agent-based modelling, and spatial decision-support systems.

Mark has a notable track record of collaboration, including ten years as an executive director of Geographical Modelling and Planning (GMAP) Limited. In this time, GMAP developed from occasional consulting projects into a market analytics business with 120 employees and global reach, working with household name partners such as Ford Motor Company, Asda-Walmart, HBoS, Exxon-Mobil and GSK. An ethos of collaboration with external partners in business and the public sector continues in his current role as Director of the Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC), a national investment within the ESRC Big Data Network. He is also PI for the ESRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Data Analytics which will coordinate sixty postgraduate research projects in tandem with external partners.

Since 2014, Mark has been Director of the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA). Having started as a partnership between CDRC and the MRC Medical Bioinformatics, LIDA now supports 40 projects and programmes with more than £50M of funded research, bringing together over 200 researchers from across all eight faculties at the University.

He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Research interests

The ambition of the CDRC is to create scientific insights on all aspects of society which are richly informed by the preferences and behaviour which are revealed in everyday patterns of consumption. This research is informed through partnership and engagement with more than 150 external organisations. Mark’s personal research interests include geodemographic profiling for neighbourhoods, microsimulation of individual behaviour patterns, and decision-support systems for retail and business organisations.

LIDA’s Integrated Research Campus provides tools for data management and analytics within a secure and accredited environment. This infrastructure supports more than £50M of funded research projects involving all eight faculties of the University, including National Centres for Consumer Data Research and Medical Bioinformatics.