Overview of the Data Pop Alliance – UNSSC Training Course “Leveraging Big Data for Sustainable Development” held at MIT Media Lab, October 15-17, 2018

On October 15-17, Data-Pop Alliance and UNSSC conducted our third training workshop of 2018 in Cambridge, MA. The workshop is part of a broader training program tailored towards development practitioners, policymakers, and researchers interested in strengthening their knowledge and skills to leverage Big Data in their work. 

© Maya van Wingerden

With an impressively diverse cohort of participants, this training hosted at the MIT Media Lab, included 39 participants from 22 countries, including 21 general fellows and 4 additional fellows who were selected to receive a stipend provided by the MIT Sloan Latin America Office.

The course program included renowned Harvard and MIT faculty, including Prof. Sandy Pentland, director of the MIT Human Dynamics Laboratory and the MIT Media Lab Entrepreneurship Program; Dr. Danielle Wood, director of the MIT Space Enabled Group; and Prof. Patrick Vinck, Research Director at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. The speakers also included key actors of the local ‘Big Data and AI’ ecosystem, including Dr. Saška Mojsilović, Head of AI Foundations at IBM Research, Co-Director of IBM Science for Social Good, and an IBM Fellow.


Please see the agenda below. For a full list of speakers please click here

Dr. Saška Mojsilović - © Maya van Wingerden
Project Lab: building a data-driven development project - © Maya van Wingerden

Over the course of three days, participants were challenged to immediately implement the course content through in-depth group work, in which they develop their own data-driven projects targeting a specific development area. They also received intensive technical training and learned to use Python to web-scrape rent prices online during a 4-hour tutorial led by Rodrigo Lara Molina, Research Scientist at Data-Pop Alliance. 

Despite the rigorous coursework and group project challenge, the energetic and dynamic environment of the 3 days reflected participants’ engagement and drive to enhance innovation in the development field, and we look forward to hearing about endeavors and partnerships that will flourish from this experience!


Click here to access the Flickr Gallery.

We welcome you to join our participants from this and previous training workshop editions on the Big Data for Sustainable Development Open Learning Hub, a learning platform developed by Data-Pop Alliance and UNSSC designed to foster a global community of practice by leveraging local expertise and initiatives from data scientists, civil servants, UN experts and members of civil society from all over the globe.

Upcoming editions will be announced shortly. Stay tuned!

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