Data Science for Social Good Programme helps Ofsted and World Bank

Data Science for Social Good (DSSGxUK) is a summer programme that has been hosted by the University of Warwick and The Alan Turing Institute for the last two years, and will this summer, 2021, be delivered by University of Warwick in collaboration with Ludwig Maximillian University (Munich) under the DSSGx UK chapter of the DSSG Foundation.

DSSG is the brainchild of Rayid Ghani, former Chief Scientist for President Obama, and continues to be run in the US at Carnegie Mellon University. Participants are trained over the summer, and work on data science projects with not-for-profit organisations and governmental bodies, helping them leverage their data to improve their services, interventions and outreach.

This summer, over 2020, a congregation of data scientists from all over the world collaborated virtually, and successfully designed a new prioritisation system for Ofsted – the Office for Standards in Education, to help them inspect and regulate early years care providers, as well as a new public administration corruption risk identification and analysing system for World Bank, an international financial institution who provide loans and grants to the governments of developing countries for the purpose of pursuing capital gains.

Nitya Raviprakash was a participant in the programme this summer for the World Bank project, and comments:

“DSSGx-UK was a great programme where I picked up many cool technical skills, but the best part about it was the people – some of the most genuine and kind people I’ve ever worked with (and learned so much from), who really want to make a positive impact on the world. To me, that’s what made the experience so beautiful.”

Alexandra Habershon from World Bank comments:

“We were really impressed with what the team achieved in just a few weeks. They embraced the anticorruption data challenge with enormous enthusiasm, creativity and skill. We came away with new analytic methods, structured data sets, instructions for researchers to take the work further, and insights about gaps in public sector data.All of this will help inform the advice we provide to governments on strengthening their accountability systems. It will also contribute to the World Bank’s ongoing anticorruption research program with academic and development partners.”

James Bowsher-Murray, Head of Early Years and Social Care – Data and Insight, from Ofsted, comments:

“I was impressed with the modelling and insight that the team were able to produce in such limited time. We are now looking forward to running and testing the model in Ofsted and seeing how it can help improve the quality of early years care that children receive.”

After such a successful year the University of Warwick are proud to announce that the programme is returning for summer 2021, in collaboration with the Ludwigs Maximillian University in Germany, with support from The Alan Turing Institute.

The 12-week programme is once again looking for participants, it will run online, due to the pandemic, from June 7th until August 27th, and will include lectures and hands-on workshops with mentors from the global data science community.

Graduates and undergraduate students, PhD students, data scientists and researchers have until January 31st to apply for the initiative which, since its inception, has seen more than 200 students spend their summers with the DSSG.

Professor Juergen Branke, Professor of Operational Research & Systems and DSSGxUK co-ordinator comments:

“The 2020 DSSGxUK programme was a great success, even with the programme being carried out virtually with participants from Mexico to Romania, our partner organisations were extremely happy with what the teams produced. Just mining the data can help them achieve more with less resources, or even help argue their case with local authorities and the Government.

“There are many organisations working hard to do social good who are collecting vast amounts of data in this digital age, but don’t have the resources or skills to make the most of it.

“The DSSG helps them unleash the potential of their data and the improvement in their services can be truly astounding.”

To find out more and to apply for this year’s programme please visit: https://warwick.ac.uk/research/data-science/warwick-data/dssgx/

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