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Data Science for the Public Good

Biocomplexity Institute Launches Data Science for the Public Good Forum with Three Marquee Programs This Summer

The Biocomplexity Institute, Darden School of Business, and Data Science Institute in partnership with the Northern Virginia Technology Council have officially launched the Data Science for the Public Good (DSPG) Forum with three cornerstone programs commencing this summer. The Forum, comprised of the newly established Distinguished Speaker Series, the Young Scholars Program, and Annual Symposium, aims to bring key public and private stakeholders together 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 Forum builds on the Institute’s DSPG initiative that leverages cutting-edge public policy analytics and data science, and serves as an honest resource for identifying, visualizing, and understanding the full data complement of interests that affect the public good, ranging from healthcare to economics. With the goal of civic engagement, the Forum invites people from local, state, and federal government, business, industry, academics, students, and the general public to participate.

Former Governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley will kick off the DSPG Distinguished Speaker Series on Friday, June 14, with his talk, Smart Government: The Data, the Map, and the Method, at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business Sands Family Grounds in Arlington, VA. The event begins at 4 p.m., followed by a Q&A session and reception. This is the first of many vibrant talks planned for the series, including the next event on September 17 featuring Katharine Abraham, director of the Maryland Center for Economics and Policy and professor of survey methodology and economics at the University of Maryland and former chair of the federal bi-partisan evidence-based policy commission.

“We are honored to have former Governor O’Malley kick off our Distinguished Speaker Series with his talk on smart government and how data-driven policy can positively change the way we govern our cities and ultimately advance the common good,” said Sallie Ann Keller, Social and Decision Analytics Division Director at UVA’s Biocomplexity Institute. “The Series and his topic beautifully encapsulate what our Forum intention is – to create a public discussion on the myriad ways we can enhance our quality of life through data and ‘doing data science.’ Through this event, and our upcoming symposium, we’re looking forward to an exciting summer of community collaboration.”

The Young Scholars program, a summer immersive program now in its sixth year, began its session on June 3 at the Institute’s Arlington, Va. location, which is home to the Social and Decision Analytics research team. The program brings a mix of undergraduate and graduate students together from across the country to partner with government professionals and community leaders on research projects combining statistics, computation, and the social sciences to determine how information and data can be leveraged to improve quality of life and inform public policy.

DSPG Young Scholars gain world-class, hands-on professional training and each is assigned a post-doctoral and senior mentor for research and career guidance. Participants have the opportunity for excursions to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, national academies, Library of Congress, Congressional hearings, and a variety of other science and technology activities in the Washington, D.C. area.

The program culminates with the DSPG Annual Symposium, in its fourth year and a celebration of the DSPG Young Scholars and their research. This year’s Symposium on Friday, Aug. 9, will feature speakers Phil Bourne, director of the University of Virginia’s Data Science Institute and acting dean of the School of Data Science, and Ron Jarmin, deputy director and chief operating officer of the U.S. Census Bureau. The Symposium is from 1 to 4:30 p.m. also at the Darden School of Business Sands Family Grounds in Arlington, VA.

Registration is required to attend the Distinguished Speaker Series and Annual Symposium. For more information about the DSPG Forum events or to register, visit the Events page.