AI-based Big Data Analytics for Economic and Financial Research

24 March 2024 – The staff and students of PHBS-UK welcome Dr XuXin Mao on our webinar series to give a talk on AI-based Big Data Analytics for Economic and Financial Research.

Dr Mao is a Principal Economist at UK's National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), and at the same time, he a Visiting Fellow at London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Furthermore, as Steering Group Member, Dr Mao also advises the UK's Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Big Data. Dr Mao holds PhD in Finance from the University of Glasgow, on top of Masters of Science degrees in economics, finance, and mathematics from University of Copenhagen in Denmark, Sorbonne Université in France, and Universität Bielefeld in Germany respectively, and a Bachelor in Economics from Renmin University of China. He is a certified  financial  risk  manager   (FRM) and has worked in both academic and business worlds as a lecturer (Assistant Prof) in Economics at UCL, an Economic forecaster at AECOM and an Economist at UOB.

Dr Mao's main research focus is on the application of econometrics and big data analytics for economic research. His research covers macroeconometric forecasting, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, international finance, housing and construction. Dr Mao’s research has been funded by grants from Innovate UK, EPSRC and ESRC. He has presented at numerous international meetings, and was featured three times on BBC Scotland 2015, as well as being covered by the Times, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Xinhua, among many other news outlets.

As we all know, Big Data and AI are increasingly deployed in real world economic activities. The question now is, “How to embrace and apply them for economic and financial studies”? In the webinar, Dr Mao discussed the answer to this question and illustrated his explanation using his Topic Retrieved, Uncovered and Structurally Tested (TRUST) platform and several specific examples on how to use various the innovative toolkits to analyse and predict human behavior in social and business contexts. Furthermore, he discussed with our audience on how to adopt the TRUST platform and the innovative toolkits to for economic and financial research.

In his talk, Dr Mao took our audience through various specific examples such as he was able to forecast the 2014 Scottish Referendum and the 2015 UK General Election. He also illustrated how he was able to predict the UK housing market output and prices, how he could detect outliers from alternative price data, as well as using big data analytics to map supply chains for products necessary to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr Mao’s presentation ended with a proposal for further research and ideas for wider applications for AI-based big data analytics.


It was a very enlightening talk and Q&A section saw our students and staff engaging Dr Mao with questions on the various applications of AI-based big data analytics, as well as questions on how the TRUST platform and the various innovative toolkits could be used to predict human behavior in various human contexts. One of the most interesting questions was whether AI-based big data analytics could one day be used to predict stock prices and crypto-based assets.

We have learned a lot from Dr Mao’s presentation and we are very honored to have someone as esteemed as Dr Mao on our webinar series to talk to our staff and students on AI-based Big Data Analytics for economic and financial research. We look forward to meeting Dr Mao again in the future and to have further opportunities to learn such cutting edge analytics from him!