Dr Vanessa Higgins

Senior Research Fellow

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Data Skills Training

I am the Director of User Support and Training for the UK Data Service. I lead the UK Data Service programme of training events, web-based training resources and online help for researchers and teachers using the quantitative and qualitative data hosted by the UK Data Service.

I am Co-investigator on the EmpoderaData project which aims to increase data literacy skills in Latin America. I am Principle Investigator for CESSDA Training which provides data skills training for social science reseachers across Europe. 

I am also a Dissertation Module lecturer on the MSc Social Research Methods and Statistics within the department of Social Statistics and, for several years, I led the Data, Skills and Training Research Group within the Cathie Marsh Institute. In previous years, I have also held the following teaching roles:

  • Lecturer: Unequal Societies, a first year undergraduate module on using data to explore health inequalities
  • Dissertation Supervisor: MSc Social Research Methods and Statistics 


My two research interests are (1) health inequalities, and (2) data literacy skills. I have held research roles within academia, central government and the voluntary sector. Throughout my research career I have specialised in in the field of health-inequalities. I have experience of quantitative and qualitative research and primary data collection and secondary analysis of data. Before joining the Cathie Marsh Institute I worked at the Office for National Statistics (ONS) as a survey researcher on large-scale national surveys such as the Children's Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use Survey and the Family Resources Survey.

Other activity 

  • PhD examiner (internal and examiner) 
  • Editorial Board Member: Research Data Journal
  • Advisory Board Member: National Centre for Research Methods  
  • Advisory Board Member: Methods@Manchester 
  • Task & Finish Group Member: Administrative Data Research UK Training
  • Peer review activities for variety of journals

Membership of Professional Associations:

  • European Survey Research Association
  • Social Research Association 
  • British Sociological Association
  • International Association for Social Science Information Service & Technology
  • Society for Social Medicine & Population Health
  • Royal Statistical Society 
  • International Statistical Institute
  • Institute for the Association of Statistical Education 

Social responsibility

Specific research interests:

Keywords: Survey Research; Health and lifestyle, Ethnicity, Obesity, Diet, Physical Activity.

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms


  • Survey Research, Health and lifestyle, Ethnicity, Obesity, Diet, Physical Activity

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Student Theses

UoM administered thesis: Phd

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