Warwick Hosts another year of Data Science for Social Good programme

This summer the University of Warwick, together with the Alan Turing Institute, is hosting the Data Science for Social Good (DSSGx UK) summer project programme for the second time.

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 case studies with not-for-profit organisations and governmental bodies, helping them leverage their data to improve their services, interventions and outreach.

Last year’s programme – the first DSSG in the UK – was a great success with fellows working alongside partners at Ofsted, Homeless Link, Cochrane, West Midlands Combined Authority and Paraguay’s National Directorate of Public Contracting, delivering data science solutions with social impact.

This year’s summer project programme has gone ahead in spite of challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, with highly talented Data Scientists from all over the world, from the UK, Poland, USA, Canada, Columbia, China, Romania and Mexico coming together (virtually) to work on two high-impact projects.

One of the projects is with Ofsted, where participants are looking at risk assessing early years providers (child minders and nurseries). Using a range of data both held by Ofsted and publicly available they will build a model that identifies early years child care providers that are most likely to provide sub-standard care.

This risk assessment will need to fit within Ofsted’s decision making process and help inform Ofsted’s decisions about when to inspect providers with the primary aim of increasing the number of children receiving a better quality of care and education.

The other project is with World Bank, where participants will be identifying and analysing corruption risks in public administration. They will investigate how cutting-edge data science methodologies can link public procurement data and the asset declarations of public officials to support the identification and analysis of corruption risks in public administration. This will allow practitioners, policy makers and civil society to inform policy responses and address corruption risks in the public sector.

Hubert Beres, a Mathematics student from the University of Warwick, is one of the DSSG participants this year:

“I am delighted to work with the Ofsted team this year – a highly skilled and motivated group of young people, supported by excellent technical mentors and project managers. We hope to produce a robust data product that can be used by Ofsted to make a real positive impact for the children.

“While we all miss the in-person experience of DSSG at Warwick, we try to jump on the opportunities given by a remote project. It is great that my team scattered across Europe can work together for a good cause. We also focus more on effective use of online collaboration tools and building personal links, potentially leading to future projects together.”

Dr Sebastian Vollmer, from The Alan Turing Institute and Department of Statistics at the University of Warwick comments:

“I am delighted that DSSGx persevered and moved online. Efforts for social good should grow in the face of a crisis – we think you will be excited to see the results.”

A public seminar about multidisciplinary Data Science is taking place on the 14th August between 4-5pm, you can register to attend here: https://www.turing.ac.uk/events/dssgx-uk-multidisciplinary-data-science

The closing ceremony will take place on the 3rd September 2020. Participants will present their exceptional work about the challenges provided by our non-profit partners, Ofsted and The World Bank

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