The Data for Children Collaborative with UNICEF has officially launched in Scotland, with a series of projects set to explore how data can be used to improve the lives of children at home and abroad.
Three initial projects will examine how data can deliver new ways of tackling childhood obesity, address child poverty and improve child population estimates locally, nationally and globally.
Originally announced in the First Minster’s 2018 Programme for Government, The Data for Children Collaborative is a partnership between UNICEF, the Scottish Government and Edinburgh University’s Data-Driven Innovation Programme.
The Collaborative was initiated by – and is currently based at – The Data Lab.
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Alex Hutchison has been appointed as delivery director and is responsible for launching the Collaborative. Commenting on the launch, she said: “It is hugely exciting to be working with UNICEF, the Scottish Government and Edinburgh University’s Data Drive Innovation Programme to deliver the projects.
“Each project has the potential to make a real, positive impact on children’s lives worldwide. Pairing insights with data enables us to better understand what is driving childhood obesity and child poverty, and more accurate population estimates will help develop a widely scalable approach to tackling hugely important issues.”
A childhood obesity project will aim to understand what children are eating and how this is influenced in different settings. This project will initially examine children in Scotland but could have a long-term global impact
Other projects will explore the drivers of childhood poverty and provide detailed insights into global population estimates through satellite imagery and big data.
The latter aims to “make invisible children visible” so that services such as healthcare, education and vaccinations can be planned appropriately for children around the world.
Digital Economy Minister Kate Forbes commented: “This is an innovative programme that will help to deliver new ways of tackling childhood obesity and child poverty on a local, national and international scale.
“We are in a very strong position in Scotland to deliver this type of world-leading data analysis that helps to save time, money and lives. I am very excited about this collaboration, through partnering with organisations that share our vision for the role of data in improving the lives of children both in Scotland and globally.”
Lucinda Rivers, head of UNICEF UK in Scotland, added: “UNICEF’s mission is to drive better results for more children, but we can only do this by using the power of evidence to deliver a better understanding of some of the challenges they face. We are grateful to the Scottish Government and the University of Edinburgh for supporting this ambition through their support of the Data for Children Collaborative.”