Data Science for the Public Good Forum

Data Science for the Public Good Forum

As leaders in Data Science for the Public Good, we hold ourselves accountable and push to champion research and public policy on public good issues that will shape a healthy future for communities around the world, all within a bedrock of data science. Our “Forum” takes the discussion out into the community and to the public at large in an effort to encourage more civic engagement and strategic planning for the good of society.

The DSPG Forum includes our Distinguished Speaker Series and Annual Symposium, and builds on the Biocomplexity Institute’s highly successful DSPG initiative. The intention of the DSPG Forum is to bring together key public and private stakeholders to discuss and plan how “doing data science” can support evidence-based policymaking and innovation to enhance the quality of life where we all live, learn, work, and play.

The DSPG Forum is public-facing and targeted at a regional audience from local, state and federal government, business, industry, regional academics, students at all levels and the general public.

We’re proud to partner with the UVA School of Data Science, Darden School of Business, and Democracy Initiative’s Equity Center.

The University of Virginia isn’t just “doing data science,” we’re also preparing a new generation to support social issues, and we’re bringing the discussion to other like-minded individuals and members of the community.

*Note: These events are being recorded by audio and video and photographic means. By attending, you grant the University the right to use your voice/likeness in any depiction of these events. 


Data Science for the Public Good Annual Symposium

DSPG Annual Symposium

Date: August 7, 2020 
Time: 1-4:30 p.m. ET


1 p.m. Plenary Session: Welcome and Keynote
2 p.m. Young Scholars Program: Overview and Highlights 
2:15 p.m. Break
2:30-4:30 p.m. Poster Sessions Led by Young Scholars

Save your online seat! The University of Virginia’s Biocomplexity Institute is hosting its annual Data Science for the Public Good Symposium virtually this year, and has lined up an exciting event, including a keynote speaker and students from DSPG Young Scholars programs across three states (Oregon, Iowa, and Virginia) and Istanbul, Turkey, who will present their research findings during a thought-provoking poster session. We hope you will join this free event! 

Keynote Speaker: Kenneth Prewitt
Talk Title: The 2020 Census – End of the Line?
Abstract: The 2020 census, performing remarkably given the pandemic, is at the end of the line because, by 2030, the Bureau will be in the data curation business. Developments in data linkage, administrative data, and commercial/social media data are pressing forward. There are issues – privacy/confidentiality prominent among them – but resolvable. The result? The next census will be less visible but more important than any of its predecessors.

Register Here

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Data Science for the Public Good Distinguished Speaker Series

Shamina SinghSpeaker: Shamina Singh 
Shamina Singh is the Founder & President of the Center for Inclusive Growth, the philanthropic hub of Mastercard. She also serves as Executive Vice President of Corporate Sustainability. Over a 15-year career in the public sector, she also has held senior positions in the White House and the U.S. House of Representatives. To learn more about Shamina, click here. Building the Field of Data Science for Social Impact

Abstract: With nearly 2.5 quintillion bytes of data produced daily, how might we leverage the potential of data to address the urgent challenge of information inequality and, in so doing, advance an agenda of inclusive growth? Despite great advances in data science in the private sector, many social-sector and civic organizations are lagging behind. With proper support, they can leverage data analytics to make their work go further and faster, ultimately helping more people survive, thrive and strive for more. But transforming the role of data in addressing major social and economic issues is not a job for any one person or organization. Only through a crowding-in of time, talent and data can the digital economy begin to work for everyone, everywhere.

Drawing on groundbreaking case studies – including the use of predictive analytics to help educators reduce college dropout rates, and data tools to unlock potential in economically distressed communities – Shamina Singh will share examples of how data is helping to protect dignity and accelerate prosperity. 

Date: October 6, 2020
Talk and Q&A Session: 4:00-5:00pm
Reception: 5:00-6:30pm

Location: UVA's DC Metro Location
1100 Wilson Boulevard, 30th Floor
Arlington, VA 22209


Past Forum Events


Mark HansenDistinguished Speaker Series: Mark Hansen
June 4, 2020
Fascinating Revelations

Mark Hansen is a David and Helen Gurley Brown Professor of Journalism and Innovation and the Director at the David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute of Media Innovation at Columbia University. For the last eight years, Hansen has been training journalists to report “on” as well as “with” data, code and algorithms. He shared his experiences and what “computational journalism” meant for the practice of data science. Click here to view a recording of this event. 



danah boydDistinguished Speaker Series: danah boyd
January 21, 2020
Data: Its Vulnerabilities and Legitimacy

danah boyd is a partner researcher at Microsoft Research, the founder and president of Data & Society, and a visiting professor at New York University. Weaving together her work on media manipulation, search engine "data voids," and efforts to protect the 2020 U.S. Census, danah helped the audience think about the social and technical challenges that our data-centric world introduces.



Katharine AbrahamDistinguished Speaker Series: Katharine Abraham
September 17, 2019
Informing Decisions while Protecting Privacy: The Future of the Federal Statistical System

Katharine Abraham is the Director of the Maryland Center for Economics and Policy, and a professor of Survey Methodology and Economics at the University of Maryland. In her talk, Dr. Abraham spoke of different ways to address the challenges currently facing the Federal statistical system, including: the use of naturally-occurring "big data", new models, and strengthened partnerships with academia and businesses. 

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Ron JarminAnnual Symposium Keynote Speaker: Ron Jarmin
August 9, 2019

This year's Symposium featured keynote speaker Ron Jarmin, deputy director and chief operating officer of the U.S. Census Bureau. He spoke about the 2020 Census and it's continual evolvement to better suit the needs of our country. The Data Science for the Public Good Annual Symposium is a showcase for researchers across the country, including the Institute's DSPG Young Scholars.



Phil BourneAnnual Symposium Keynote Speaker: Phil Bourne
August 9, 2019
What Does Responsible Data Science Mean?

This year's Symposium also featured keynote speaker Phil Bourne, director of the University of Virginia’s Data Science Institute and acting dean of the School of Data Science. This talk invited the audience to think about what we can learn about responsibility from genomics as we perform data science for the public good, and how openness, reproducibility, etc. can lead to responsible data science across all domains.



Martin O'MalleyDistinguished Speaker Series: Martin O'Malley
June 14, 2019
Smarter Government: The Data, the Map, and the Method.

The former Governor of Maryland, Martin O'Malley, kicked off the Data Science for the Public Good Distinguished Speaker Series with his talk, Smart Government: The Data, the Map, and the Method, emphasizing the need for more evidence-based policy making.

News ArticleDownload Slides


Data Science for the Public Good Forum Sponsors

Thank you to our sponsors for their support. It’s through their generous contributions that we’re able to deliver these Forum events as we continue to foster civic engagement and future discussions on the importance of doing data science to enhance the quality of life where we all live, learn, work, and play.

Interested in sponsoring the Data Science for the Public Good Forum events? Please read the sponsorship prospectus or contact Kevin Passarello, Director of Translational Programs and Development, at the UVA Biocomplexity Institute.

Bronze-level Sponsors

  • Washington Statistical Society
  • NORC logo
  • AMSTAT logo
  • R Studio Sponsor Logo
  • SAGE Publishing logo
  • Westat sponsor logo
  • Avison Young Sponsor Logo