Celia Russell

Senior data specialist


In my role as senior data specialist in the UK Data Service, I am responsible for the development of the international data portfolio, which includes the large-scale databanks produced by the IMF, World Bank, OECD, International Energy Agency and other intergovernmental organisations.

Our role is make the data available to the widest possible community and support the use of these databanks in teaching and research.

I am also a co-investigator on the Making Peacekeeping Data Work Project, a three year ESRC-funded research project that looks how the UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur collects and operationalises security incident data, and how the data can be used more effectively by the peacekeeping mission and humanitarian agencies working in the region.

I am a trustee of the Tekkatho Foundation which supports the use of digital technologies to bring about educational change across Myanmar (Burma).


My first degree is in physics (BA Hons, Oxon). I have an MSc in nuclear and particle physics from Royal Holloway, University of London. My PhD (Econ, The University of Manchester) was an analysis of international competitiveness based on primary data collected in the field and international comparative data from the OECD.

I previously set up and co-managed ESDS International, an ESRC-funded data service, which disseminated and supported the databanks produced by inter-governmental organisations, such as the World Bank and IMF, to all higher education institutions in the UK.

This service now forms a core part of the UK Data Service.

Research awards

  • Co-applicant on the two major ESRC grants awarded to support ESDS International, RES-574-47-0001 (£2,029,287.41) and RES-574-47-5002, (£3,267,299.41)
  • Co-applicant on the ESRC Researcher Development Initiative’s Countries and Citizens project which developed a set of eLearning materials on linking data. (PTA-035-25-0020, £76,232.94)
  • Co-investigator on the ESRC Impact Agenda seminar series (RES-451-26-0927)
  • Principal investigator on the 2010 RCUK Research Workshop programme (RW10-17), ICT and e-Knowledge for the Developing World
  • Grant holder of the Open Societies Foundation Burma Project/South East Asia Initiative awards that support the eTekkatho project (OR2013-04526 and OR2012-02258)
  • Grant holder if the Daw Aung San Suu Kyi Trust for Health and Education grants that supported the eTekkatho project
  • Co-applicant on Making Peacekeeping Data Work for the International Community (with Roger Mac Ginty (PI), Bertrand Taithe and Tanja Muller); £994,355.40; ESRC ES/L007479/1, 2014-2017