The course aims to help practitioners and policy-makers to develop and implement Big Data innovation projects, policies, and partnerships in support of sustainable development objectives. Through a blend of teaching formats, including traditional instructor-led teaching, keynote speakers, and interactive and hands-on technical sessions, participants will learn the foundations of Big Data in the context of sustainable development and explore how to engage with Big Data in their daily work and life.

The course is designed and delivered in partnership with the Data Pop Alliance, a global coalition on Big Data and development created by The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, MIT Media Lab and the Overseas Development Institute along with the Flowminder Foundation. The coalition brings together researchers, experts, practitioners, and activists to promote a people-centred Big Data revolution through collaborative research, capacity building, and community engagement.



At the end of the course, participants will have

  • Heightened awareness of and interest in the main applications and implications of the most recent debates and advances in Big Data and sustainable development;
  • An    increased    understanding    and    capacity    to    actively    and constructively engage in and with Big Data in their work
  • Motivation and ability to create partnerships with various stakeholders within and outside of their organization to develop effective, sustainable solutions using Big   Data   sources and methodologies;
  • Skills to help apply course lessons and key concepts towards policy implementation and project development through session activities   and   adaptation    of   the Big Data and sustainable development course toolkit.

Course Methodology

Course Methodology: 

The training programme will use a blend of teaching and learning modalities, including traditional presentations, a keynote, interactive technical tutorials, group work, and a Data Expedition.

Course Contents

Course Contents: 
  • Day 1: Contexts and Concepts: Understanding key Big Data ideas in order to translate sustainable development-related problems into specific data objectives.
  • Day 2: Methods and Tools: Applying Big Data methods and tools to yield insights for specific sustainable development-related problems.
  • Day 3: Design and Strategy: Operationalizing Big Data as inclusive projects, partnerships and policies & Ethics and Engagement: Engaging key stakeholders and communities through ethical practices and effective story-telling.
  • Day 4: Big Data for Sustainable Development in Action: Data partnership and project development lab.

Target Audience

Target Audience: 

The course is open to UN and Non-UN participants with an interest in Big Data and sustainable development-related issues and innovation. The course is designed primarily to the needs of project management professionals and staff with introductory to intermediate skills in statistics and economics.

Cost of participation

Cost of participation: 

The course is offered at a fee of 2,500 USD per participant, covering the following:

  •          Four days of training with a balance of presentations, full group and small group work on case studies and exercises;
  •          Exclusive access to online resources on Big Data and Development;
  •          All course materials, resources and contacts.

Certificates of attendance from the UN System Staff College and Data-Pop Alliance will be awarded to participants who complete the course.

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