Webinar 27th March 2024 – Economist Careers at Ofcom – Introduction and Q&A

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Why we’ve partnered with Women in data…

Ofcom’s purpose is to “make communications work for everyone”. To enable this mission, we need to represent the UK in our workforce and understand the diverse needs of consumers across our work. Data and technology expertise is critical to this mission. We have a goal to ensure our overall senior team is gender balanced and whilst proud of the progress we have made, we have more to do. Our partnership with Women in Data helps us attract, support and progress the careers of women in our technology and data teams.


Angie Church
Angie Church
Duty Engineering Officer
Camilla Perusi picture
Camilla Perusi
Senior Data Scientist
Holly Francois
Holly Francois
Principal – Machine Learning
Ismini Psychoula
Senior Technical Advisor
Kayt Button 1
Kayt Button
Data Delivery Manager
Maria Padilla
Maria Padilla
Associate Economist and Data Analyst
Mischa Gulseven
Mischa Gulseven
Data Strategy Programme Manager

How OFCOM see the data landscape changing in the UK in the next 5 years

We’re delivering vital work that helps keep the UK connected and shapes the future of how we’ll stay connected with each other. As an evidenced-based regulator, data is one of our most valuable assets. But we need to ensure we are keeping up with accelerating innovation in this space and the pace of digital transformation across the sectors we regulate.

We are looking for people of all backgrounds, skill sets and experiences to help us navigate this ever-evolving data landscape – whether this be tackling new public policy challenges (such as making the online world a safer place and regulating AI) or building deep subject matter expertise across the latest advances in computing power and data acquisition techniques. We want to harness the power of data to improve outcomes for people and businesses across the UK. But there is also an urgent need to gain a better understanding of the latest approaches in AI and machine learning if we are to deliver on these ambitions.

We are therefore continuing to collaborate widely and are excited to be developing new partnerships with data experts across government, academia and industry. We are also making significant investments in the data skills and capabilities of our people at Ofcom. This is an essential part of our ambition to put data at the heart of Ofcom’s culture.

about OFCOM

Ofcom is the UK’s independent regulator for the communications services that we use and rely on every day – including TV and radio; broadband and mobile; post and wireless services. We also help to protect people from bad practices in the areas we regulate.

Expertise: Intelligence Analyst / Spectrum Management/Coaching and Mentoring

Social Media details: www.linkedin.com/in/angela-church-413bab137

A bit about me….

I have had quite a varied life, leaving Scotland to join the Royal Navy at 20, I’ve now lived/been based in England for 20 years. In that time, I’ve been around the world honing my craft at being inherently curious, which helps in this line of work. I enjoy crochet, singing and spending time with family.

Why did you join Ofcom?

As a radio operator and data analyst by trade, there were few jobs locally that were flexible enough for family time, so when this position came up, I was excited to accept it. I’ve worked for Ofcom since October 2019, but I’m only now really getting to know my colleagues since the world opened again from Covid-19. I currently work shifts, dealing with radio frequency interference queries from all private and public sectors and individuals. This requires varied knowledge of the Communications Sector and quite a bit of problem solving too.

What do you like most about Ofcom?

I enjoy that it’s flexible and varied. Also having had a recent, late life Neurodiversity diagnosis, the support from the company has been amazing. The best part is the encouragement to learn more and expand our knowledge base. Communications Technology continues to move forward so it’s important to keep up.

Expertise: Data Science, Economics

Social Media: LinkedIn

Camilla started her career by joining the graduate scheme at Ofcom in the Economics pathway, after obtaining a MSc in Economics at the University of Warwick. While in the Economics and Analytics group she worked on a variety of projects from market reviews to econometric studies, and discovered she really enjoyed working with data. She then moved to a Data Scientist role in the Data and Innovation Hub, in a team that seeks to explore and test the use of new and novel data and analytical methods to support and improve the work of all teams across Ofcom. It is a very dynamic role that involves using a variety of analytical tools, from machine learning to data collection and visualisation, in a broad range of areas that Ofcom regulates such as broadcasting, spectrum, post, and more.

Expertise: Speech and Audio Processing, Expressive Speech Synthesis, Machine Learning, Deep Learning.

Education: MEng in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Surrey (1995) PhD “Continuous, Speaker Independent, Speech Recognition for a Speech to Viseme Translator” University of Surrey (1999)

Social Media details: https://www.linkedin.com/in/holly-francois-1962632/

As a Principal in the Data Innovation Hub at Ofcom, I lead a diverse and talented team working on Machine Learning for Online Safety. This includes capability building to develop our expertise, consultancy on various aspects of algorithms for policy colleagues and using Machine Learning to create internal tools to assist with tasks such as document ingestion and processing.

My previous roles at Samsung and Motorola involved developing algorithms and working in international standardisation in ETSI, ITU-T and 3GPP. My research topics included speech recognition, microphone arrays, speech enhancement, codec development, speech quality, audio restoration and multi-talker expressive speech synthesis. I have also lectured at Surrey, Imperial, and Ngee Ann Polytechnic (Singapore).

I joined Ofcom in November 2021 and before that I never really thought of myself as working in “Data”. Even though I’ve been engaged in research and development using Deep Learning since 2017, for the past 25+ years I would have labelled myself as a Speech/Audio Engineer! That being said, my pre-Ofcom career was heavily involved data in its many and varied forms so if I think about it, “data” has been part of my career history since the very beginning!

Expertise: Machine Learning, Privacy Enhancing Technologies, Trustworthy AI


BSc & MSc in Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering – University of Western Macedonia

MSc in Data Science – Delft University of Technology

PhD in Computer Science – De Montfort University

Social Media details:
LinkedInIsmini Psychoula, PhD | LinkedIn
Twitter: @IPsychoula

Ismini is a Senior Technology Advisor at Ofcom, where she works on the intersection of Machine Learning, Privacy Enhancing Technologies, and Trustworthy AI in the context of online safety. Before joining Ofcom, she was a Research Scientist at Onespan’s Innovation centre in Cambridge, where she focused on identifying and developing emerging AI technologies to drive the next generation of systems in the finance and cyber-security sectors.

Ismini holds a BSc & MSc degree in Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering from the University of Western Macedonia, Greece, in 2013, and an MSc degree in Data Science from Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands, in 2016. From 2016 to 2020, she was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow in the School of Computer Science and Informatics at De Montfort University, where she obtained her PhD in Computer Science in 2020. Her research highlighted the need for privacy and trust in AI systems and explored the use of Privacy Preserving Machine Learning in smart healthcare. Additionally, she has been a visiting researcher at MIT Media Lab, where she worked on innovative smart healthcare applications for remote patient monitoring utilizing machine learning and the internet of things.

Her research interests include natural language processing, synthetic data and generative AI, the internet of things, privacy enhancing technologies, and explainable and trustworthy AI. She believes in diversity, inclusivity, and representation of women in STEM and hopes to help make the STEM space more welcoming for future generations.

Expertise: Encouraging collaboration

Education: PhD Environmental History, MSc GIS, MPhil (res) Molecular Biology

Social Media details: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kayt-button-a781a73b/

My career has been a combination of being in the right place at the right time, mixed with health conditions, which has meant having a flexible approach but data has always been prominent! My first career choice was in microbiology, studying the properties of fungal diseases of aphids as a PhD. My work aimed to formulate the fungi into various liquids, which would then be sprayed onto crops to control aphids, preventing much of the considerable damage they cause to crops. Spray pattern data is fascinating but unfortunately, having developed a chronic neurological condition, I could not continue this work.

As I learned to manage my condition and the resulting pain and reduced mobility, I began working, with my husband, in his Geodemographic consultancy. Very data heavy and quite specialised, so, I went back to university to do my MSc in GIS. I loved this job which I did for over 10 years. It allowed me to manage my condition, have children, flexibly work with my consultancy clients, and undertake lots of business admin. too! It helped me to redevelop my confidence in myself. When we decided to close the business, I wanted to continue to work but was nervous about having reduced flexible hours, working for an employer. I found work in the voluntary sector, creating business plans to help make a local charity more financially sustainable and less grant dependent as its lottery funding was ending.

The opportunity arose for me to use all of my previous experience and undertake a PhD in environmental history, studying the development of electricity from an embryonic technology to becoming a nationalised utility. After graduating, I went to work for Ofgem, the Department of Health and now I am at Ofcom. These last three roles have included networks and charging policy, leading on a national digitisation project and now working to create internal digital products, for the data we will be managing, as Ofcom take up new powers under the Online Safety Bill.

An eclectic career to date but a very enjoyable one!

Expertise: Economic research, data and analytics

Education: PhD Economics, MSc Economics and Public Policy

Social Media details: https://www.linkedin.com/in/maria-paola-padilla-0a01b6142/

My interest in empirical research and data analytics began during my MSc at the University of Sheffield. While I thoroughly enjoyed every single one of my quantitative and theoretical modules, it wasn’t until I started my dissertation that I discovered an affinity for data and econometric research. In particular, this project made me realise how much I enjoyed using data and advanced quantitative techniques to analyse real-world problems and tackle unanswered research questions.

Having discovered a passion for research, I then decided to pursue a Doctoral degree in Economics, for which I was fortunate enough to receive a full scholarship at the University of Sheffield. During those three years, I used micro-level data to investigate the impact of conflict-related violence on individuals’ social preferences and risk behaviour. I also had the opportunity to work on other research projects which focused on the effect of social media on generalised trust and polarisation in the UK.

After finishing my studies, I joined the Economics and Analytics group at Ofcom in September 2022. This role has been an incredible opportunity as I have been able to apply my knowledge on challenging yet exciting issues. For example, one of my current projects involves the use of granular customer-level data to monitor key trends in the UK mobile sector. While these data will allow us to explore several avenues of research, our work has already helped informed recent publications, such as Ofcom’s future approach to mobile markets and spectrum.

Thanks to the supportive and encouraging environment within the organisation, I have also been able to develop my data analysis skills further. For instance, over the past 7 months, I have significantly improved my abilities in R, GitHub, and Databricks and have also started learning Python through DataCamp courses.

Expertise: Project and Programme Management within Data

Education: BA Economics

I began my career in Data many years ago, having taken a role as a report developer without really knowing too much about what it entailed! From there, I really caught the Data bug, realising how crucial data is to organisations, and that how it is represented and interpreted is absolutely key to decision making and outcomes which affect all of us. Fast forward 25 years (!) and having made that transition from hands on tech to leadership, I now really enjoy leading teams of Data professionals and empowering them to deliver.