RDA/CODATA Summer Schools in Data Science and Cloud Computing in the Developing World Case Statement

13 Jun 2014

RDA/CODATA Summer Schools in Data Science and Cloud Computing in the Developing World Case Statement

UPDATE of 28 October can be found here: https://www.rd-alliance.org/wg-proposal-resubmission.html

Working Group Charter
The goal of the WG is to set up the framework to run a series of Summer Schools in Data Science and Cloud Computing in the Developing World. It will run at a variety of locations but will have a base in the developing world and the UK. This series would be endorsed by both the RDA and CODATA and would make use of the wide variety of expertise within these organisations. In the 18 month period of the WG it will
•    Arrange funding for an initial period for the school to run (five years).
•    Organise partnerships with Developing World institutions.
•    Determine the best curriculum for the school in collaboration with others.
•    Arrange how the materials can also be delivered online.
 

Value Proposition
Research in the Developing World is hampered by a variety of infrastructural issues. Access to research data in the public domain and the computational resources to analyse them, would give researchers in the Developing World the chance to do world-class research that is relevant to their society. Distributed computing techniques, for example cloud computing, present the possibility to sidestep the infrastructural difficulties. In order for this to happen, researchers need to understand the techniques of Data Science and the use of cloud computing. By training individuals who will ultimately pass on their training over a comparatively short period of time the level of understanding of this field can be built up and impact research. The creation of a cadre of individuals who can analyse, maintain and curate data sets will be an important skill which will also positively impact the local society as enterprises based on data analysis will expand.

Engagement with existing work in the area:
There exist a number of initiatives that provide training in these fields; for example there are a number of Summer Schools in Europe on cloud computing (see attached document of links). Microsoft Research provide training sessions on their cloud Azure.  There are now two MOOC’s in Data Science and the number of masters programmes in this area in expanding rapidly. Analysis platforms such as R have an ever-expanding set of teaching resources. The Software Carpentry movement, which has many of the correct pedagogical approaches for this school has events across the developed world (and has had sessions in South Africa). AidData have provided training in the analysis of social data in the developing world. The Wellcome Trust has provided funding for a successful series of schools in Bioinformatics in the Developing World. The  Accelerated Data Programme of the International Household Panel Survey, and the IHPS in general provide tools and training to many developing country institutions, to increase the availability and quality of survey data.
 

Within the RDA there is a proposal for an IG in training in Data Science.  CODATA has longstanding activities to build capacity in countries with developing and emerging economies.  These include:
•    The PASTD Task Group (Preservation of and Access to Scientific and Technical Data in/for/with Developing Countries) has run a series of workshops in developing countries.  The next will be in Nairobi, Kenya in August 2014.
•    CODATA China, with support from the Chinese Academy of Science, is running a training workshop in Big Data for Science for Researchers from Countries with Developing and Emerging Economies.
We have already made contacts with a variety of the above different organisations. CODATA is very happy to participate and to be a co-sponsor of the group.  AidData has expressed an interest in the proposal. A new IG is being formed on the teaching and training of Data Science and they can provide guidance on what the curriculum should be. The Wellcome Trust has expressed a willingness to provide guidance based on their experience.

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Download full document below
 

  • Thea Atwood's picture

    Author: Thea Atwood

    Date: 08 Jul, 2014

    What an incredibly exciting and rewarding endeavor! It looks like you have a wealth of other summer school models to work off of, but I wanted to chime in and point out a potential resource: The New England Collaborative Data Management Curriculum: http://library.umassmed.edu/necdmc/index .

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