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Welcome to

Big Data for Development
Research Network

The Network

Introduction

Big Data for Development (BD4D) Research Network is a Southern-led partnership with the objective of developing policy relevant research on big data for development that is conceptualized and implemented by Southern organizations. The network acts to develop capacity amongst researchers from the Global South, focusing on activities linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to those that address gender related issues. The work encompasses both big data analyses as well as capacity development, while innovating on data partnerships and collaborations with private sector companies and policy makers. The network is supported by a grant from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada.

Network Members

Who we are and what we are doing

AIMS and LDRI

African Institute for Mathematics Sciences (AIMS) and Local Development Research Institute (LDRI) are leading the African hub of the network in order to bring big data to bear on Africa’s development agenda (i.e. Agenda 2063). AIMS and LDRI will capitalize and align the focus of its work to the African Development Bank’s High Five priorities. These are (1) Light up and power Africa; (2) Feed Africa; (3) Industrialize Africa; (4) Integrate Africa; and (5) Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa. Initially the focus of the hub will be on the 1st and 2nd priorities. Against this backdrop the state of data for development in Africa needs improvement for implementation and public participation. At the same time human capital and infrastructure for data is thin and needs ramping up fast. The key objectives will be to: 1) Increase the number of big data scientists on the continent through training and partnerships, 2) Catalyze research on big data in Africa to address policy, infrastructure, funding and human capital gaps, and 3) Provide a platform for practitioners to network, learn and coordinate activities. The network shall undertake two distinct efforts designed to contribute to capacity development for big data in Africa. The first will focus on developing skills to conduct big data analytics, while the second will cater to developing an infrastructure platform for conducting big data analytics.

CEPEI

The Latin American region presents an ideal opportunity to create a big data platform through south-south and triangular cooperation mechanisms. With an inter-institutional coalition of organizations across the region and beyond, Centro de Pensamiento Estratégico Internacional (CEPEI) is eager to promote a dialogue and open up an ongoing debate platform to discuss practical approaches, guidelines and strategies on how to bring big data into real politics: institutional frameworks for SDG implementation, building enabling environments for partnerships and the participation of non-state actors in the entire process. In collaboration with decision-makers on the ground, CEPEI proposes an initial phase of 24 months to: (a) Establish a regional community of practice to build capacities and share best practices of big data for sustainable development; (b) conduct policy research to generate knowledge on governance (legal), social and economic implication of big data for development; (c) design and implement a methodology to catalogue and visualize non-official datasets and their alignment to the SDGs and translate this data into timely insights to inform those that drive policy agendas; (d) Apply big data analysis for development research linked to specific SDG indicators; (e) disseminate findings and lessons learned with the regional data and statistics community. Target audiences include: private sector entities and social entrepreneurs, statisticians, data scientist, planning and results management practitioners, researchers, and data journalists.

LIRNEasia

LIRNEasia conducts its own big data analyses in emerging Asia, and engages deeply with policy makers, as well as the private sector that currently possess the majority (if not the only source) of big data of relevance for developmental policy. The goals of LIRNEasia’s big data for development research are to: 1) Analyze and produce insights by combining big data (mobile network big data, electricity consumption data, CCTV, satellite imagery) and small data (traditional statistics, quantitative and qualitative studies) to inform policy across various domains; 2) Deeply engage with policy makers and the symbolic environment of policy domains to facilitate the uptake of insights from big data for developmental policy and be intelligent and informed consumers of big data insights; 3) Catalyze the development of in-situ expertise in developing economies to conduct big data analyses for developmental purposes; 4) Understand the implications of big data and algorithmic decision making in developmental policy, particularly in relation to privacy, marginalization, and competition; and 5) Develop guidelines for the ethical use of big data so as to catalyze greater access to big data for the purposes of developmental research by reducing the transaction costs of releasing the data.

CIS

The Centre for Internet and Society (CIS), India, will set up a research innovations hub as part of the global Big Data for Development (BD4D) Network being established by the IDRC. CIS will conduct and support research internationally, with a specific focus on countries where the other hubs of the Network are located, and regions neighboring them. The purpose of the research innovation hub is to document BD4D innovations with a focus on the research methods involved, offer research and pedagogic support towards thematic and sectoral foci of other hubs of the Network (that are more focused on applied research), and to drive research innovation in the field of BD4D by facilitating Network-level workshops and research efforts around ethics and human rights implications of BD4D initiatives and use of feminist methodologies in understanding governance and impact of BD4D initiatives (both research-oriented and intervention-oriented ones). Our approach consists of three priority areas: 1) Reactive and sustained research engagement with network members, 2) Conduct and support legal and technical research on ethical and human rights frameworks for BD4D research and intervention initiatives, and 3) Conduct and support feminist studies on BD4D research and intervention practices.

Network Activities

This section is under construction, please check again later

Big Data Analytics

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Capacity Development

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Regulatory Frameworks

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Social Research

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Network Partners

This section is under construction, please check again later