Data for Policy 2021

Data for Policy 2021

The sixth International Data for Policy Conference will take place in London on September 14-16, 2021.

The Data for Policy conference series is the premier global forum for multiple disciplinary and cross-sector discussions around the theories, applications and implications of data science innovation in governance and the public sector.

All conference contributions will be considered for peer-reviewed publication in Data & Policy, a Data for Policy – Cambridge University Press collaboration supported by the Alan Turing Institute, Office for National Statistics and UCL.


International Organisation Committee:

Leigh Anderson – University of Washington
Emanuele Baldacci – European Commission
Jon Crowcroft – University of Cambridge, Alan Turing Institute
Zeynep Engin – University College London
Innar Liiv – Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia
Christoph Luetge – Institute of Ethics and AI, ITM, Munchen
H. Scott Matthews – Carnegie Mellon University
Barbara Ubaldi – OECD, Paris
StefaanVerhulst – New York University
Masaru Yarime – Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Special Track Chairs

Emanuele Baldacci, European Commission
Ana Cruz, Ministry of Economy, Mexico
Joao Rodrigues Frade, European Commission
Giovanna Galasso, PwC IT
Fiorentina Garcia, Ministry of Economy, Mexico
Sarah Giest, Leiden University
Luis Godoy, Ministry of Economy, Mexico
Amanda Greene, Lehigh University
Gülsen Güler, Data Literation
Ulrike Hahn, Birkbeck College
Alex Ingrams, Leiden University
Bram Klievink, Leiden University
Stephan Lewandowsky, University of Bristol
Blanca Martinez De Aragon, European Commission
Anjali Mehta, Civic Software Foundation
Francesco Mureddu, The Lisbon Council
Jaron Porciello, Cornell University
Francesco Paolo Schiavo, Ministry of Economics and Finance, Italy
Tugce Schmitt, Hertie School
Mujaheed Shaikh, Hertie School
Seth van Hooland, European Commission
Masaru Yarime, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Advisory Committee:

Jean Bacon – University of Cambridge
Kenneth Benoit – London School of Economics and Political Science
Anil Bharath – Imperial College London
Gabrielle Demange – Paris School of Economics
Anthony Finkelstein – UK Government Office for Science
Rayid Ghani – Carnegie Mellon University
David Hand – Winton Capital Management; Imperial College
Helen Margetts – University of Oxford; The Alan Turing Institute
Beth Noveck – New York University
Alan Penn – University College London
Rob Procter – University of Warwick; The Alan Turing Institute
Peter Smith – University of Southampton
Tom Smith – Office for National Statistics, UK
John Shawe-Taylor – University College London
John Taysom – Privitar
Philip Treleaven– University College London
Dame Alison Wolf – King’s College London
Derek Wyatt – Royal Trinity Hospice; All Party Parliamentary Group on Data Analytics
Milan Vojnovic– London School of Economics and Political Science

Area Editors:

Area 1: Focus on Data-driven Transformations in Policy and Governance

Shan Jiang – Tufts University, USA, Lead
Francesco Mureddu – The Lisbon Council, Belgium
Keegan McBride – Hertie School Centre for Digital Government, Germany
Jaron Porcilello – Cornell University, USA

Area 2: Focus on Data Technologies and Analytics for Policy and Governance

Omar Isaac Asensio – Georgia Institute of Technology, USA, Lead
Tian Lan – UCL, UK
Gonzalo Rivero -Westat, USA
Mecit Can Emre Simsekler – Khalifa University of Science & Technology, UAE
Catherine Moore – Georgia Institute of Technology, USA, Coordinator

Area 3: Focus on the Policy Frameworks, Governance and Management of Data-driven Innovations

Joanna Kulesza – University of Lodz, Poland, Lead
Feras Batarseh – George Mason University, USA
Anushri Gupta – Coventry University, UK
Johanna Walker – University of Southampton, UK

Area 4: Focus on Ethics, Equity and Trust in Policy Data Interactions

Laura Ación – University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Lead
Xiao Liu – McGill University, Canada
Alexander Monea – George Mason University, USA

Area 5: Focus on Algorithmic Governance

Leid Zejnilovic – Nova School of Business and Economics, Portugal, Lead
Roxana Radu – Global Governance Centre, Geneva, Switzerland
Archana Sivasubramanian – Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, India

Area 6: Focus on Data to Tackle Global Issues and Dynamic Societal Threats

Wilson Wong – Chinese University of Hong Kong, Lead
Eleonore Fournier-Tombs – The World Bank & University of Ottawa, Canada
Lauren Maffeo – Steampunk Inc., USA
David Pastor-Escuredo – UNICEF & Technical University of Madrid, Spain

Programme Committee:

David Bounie – Telecom ParisTech
Daniel Castro – Centre for Data Innovation
Suleyman Demirsoy – Intel
Jasmine Grimsley – Office for National Statistics, UK
Jose Manuel Magallanes – University of Washington; Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru
Eric T. Meyer – The University of Texas at Austin, University of Oxford
Slava Mikhaylov – Hertie School of Governance, Berlin
Suzy Moat – University of Warwick; The Alan Turing Institute
Mirco Musolesi – University College London; The Alan Turing Institute
Florian Ostmann – The Alan Turing Institute
Martijn Poel – Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Netherlands
Tobias Preis – University of Warwick; The Alan Turing Institute
Harald Stieber – European Commission
Jatinder Singh – University of Cambridge
Akin Unver – Kadir Has University
Michael Veale – University College London
Andrew Young – New York University
Louisa Zanoun – UK Science and Innovation Network

Data & Policy Journal Manager: 

Andrew Hyde – Cambridge University Press

Data & Data for Policy Community Manager: 

Emily Gardner – University College London

Data for Policy and Data & Policy Communications Editors: 

Roy Cobby – King’s College London, UK
Sophie O’Brien – University of Bath, UK

Conference Timeline:


Deadline for Special Track proposals 10 December 2020
Call for Papers – announcement 12 January 2021 
Extended abstract and full paper submission deadline 25 March 2021 
Notification of acceptance with reviewer comments and invitation to submit revised versions for those accepted 11 June 2021 
Registration deadline for presenters 23 July 2021 
Submission of revised paper for a second round of review for journal (compulsory) – along with submitting any pre-conference material upload on Zenodo; submission of video (if relevant) (optional) 20 August 2021 
Public registration deadline 20 August 2021
Conference 14-16 September 2021
Decision on publication of revised paper, and invitation to submit to Data & Policy if accepted, or invitation to second revision Post-Conference


Call for Papers General Information

The Call for Papers is now closed. The below is for information only.

The Data for Policy conference series is the premier global forum for multiple disciplinary and cross-sector discussions around the theories, applications and implications of data science innovation in governance and the public sector. Its associated journal, Data & Policy, published by Cambridge University Press has quickly established itself as a major venue for publishing research in the field of data-policy interactions. Both the conference and the journal receive valuable support from their sustainer partnersthe Alan Turing Institute, the Office for National Statistics and UCL. 

Convening for the sixth time in September 2021, the International Organisation Committee for the conference invites Paper and Panel Session proposals at the conference to be also considered for potential post-conference publications in Data & Policy (subject to peer-review). We are planning for a physical conference and we hope that presenters will be able to join us in person. We understand that this may be difficult, or even impossible, and we will adapt the conference proceedings accordingly to accommodate virtual presentations where this is necessary. 

There are six broad, interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral areas of interest, which form the standard tracks of the conference. The six areas are overseen by newly appointed editorial committees, who are working to develop each area.

Following the momentous events of 2020, the International Committee and organisers wish to recognise the additional focus on data throughout the whole of society as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the opportunities this creates for learning about and developing data and policy interactions. This focus should not be seen as limiting, and we welcome submissions across domains, sectors and applications. In addition to the standard tracks, nine Special Tracks have also been shortlisted this year.

The standard tracks of the conference are as follows:

ST1: Data-driven Transformations in Policy and Governance – this standard track focuses on the high-level vision for philosophy, ideation, formulation and implementation of new approaches leading to paradigm shifts, innovation and efficiency gains in collective decision making processes. Topics may include:

  • Data-driven innovation in public, private and voluntary sector governance and policy-making at all levels (international; national and local): applications for real-time management, future planning, and rethinking/reframing governance and policy-making in the digital era;
  • Data and evidence-based policy-making;
  • Government-private sector-citizen interactions: data and digital power dynamics, asymmetry of information; democracy, public opinion and deliberation; citizen services;
  • Interactions between human, institutional and algorithmic decision-making processes, psychology and behaviour of decision-making;
  • Global policy-making: global existential debates on utilizing data-driven innovation with impact beyond individual institutions and states;
  • Socio-technical and cyber-physical systems, and their policy and governance implications.

The remaining categories represent more specifically the current applications, methodologies, strategies which underpin the broad aims of Data for Policy’s vision:

ST2: Data Technologies and Analytics for Policy and Governance – this track is concerned with data in its variety of forms and sources, and infrastructure and methods for its utilisation in policy and governance:

  • Data sources: Personal and proprietary data, administrative data and official statistics, open and public data, organic vs designed data, sensory and mobile data, digital footprints, crowdsourced data, and other relevant data;
  • Technologies: Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Internet of Things, Platform Technologies, Digital Twins, Visualisation and User Interaction Technologies, data and analytics infrastructures, cloud and mobile technologies;
  • Methodologies and Analytics: Mathematical and Statistical models, Computational Statistics, Machine Learning, Edge Analytics, Federated Learning, theory and data-driven knowledge generation, multiple disciplinary methodologies, real-time and historical data processing, geospatial analysis, simulation, gaps in theory and practice.

ST3: Policy Frameworks, Governance and Management of Data-driven Innovations – this track focusses on governance practices and management issues involved in implementation of data-driven solutions:

  • Data and algorithm design principles and accountability
  • Local, national and international governance models and frameworks for data and associated technologies;
  • Data and algorithms in the law;
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other regulatory frameworks;
  • Data intermediaries, trusts and collaboratives;
  • Meta-data, interoperability and standards;
  • Data ownership, provenance, sharing, supply chains, linkage, curation and expiration;
  • Data sovereignty and data spaces.

ST4: Ethics, Equity and Trust in Policy Data Interactions – this track examines the issues which must be considered in technology design and assessment:

  • Digital Ethics: Data, algorithms, models and dynamic interactions between them
  • Digital trust, and human-data-machine interactions in policy context
  • Responsible technology design and assessment
  • Privacy and data sharing
  • Digital identification, personhood, and services
  • Uncertainties, bias, and imperfections in data and data-driven systems
  • Algorithmic behaviour: equity and fairness, transparency and explainability, accountability, and interpretability
  • Human-machine collaboration in strategic decision making and algorithm agency
  • Human control, rights, democratic values, and self-determination.

The following are areas which fall within the above categories, but are highlighted as being of special interest:

ST5: Algorithmic Governance:

  • Data-driven insights in governance decision making, black-box processing;
  • Algorithm agency along with human and institutional decision-making processes;
  • Government automation: citizen service delivery, supporting civil servants, managing national public records and physical infrastructure, statutes and compliance, and public policy development;
  • Algorithmic ‘good’ governance: participation, consensus orientation, accountability, transparency, responsiveness, effectiveness and efficiency, equity and inclusiveness, and the rule of law.

ST6: Data to Tackle Global Issues and Dynamic Societal Threats:

  • Human existence and the planet;
  • International collaboration for global risk management and disaster recovery;
  • Global health, emergency response, Covid-19 and pandemics;
  • Sustainable development, climate change and the environment;
  • Humanitarian data science, international migration, gender-based issues and racial justice;
  • International competition and cultures of digital transformation.

The Special Tracks for the conference are as follows:

3. ‘Arguments, algorithms and tools: what do we need to shape policy and confront misinformation post-pandemic?’ Track Chairs: Jaron Porciello, Ulrike Hahn and Stephan Lewandowsky
View Details

7. ‘Facilitating Data-Driven Innovation for Sustainability: Policy Frameworks and Measures for Data Governance’ Track Chairs: Masaru Yarime
View Details

9. ‘Systemic engagement: Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and the design challenge of inclusion, sustainability, and data ownership’ Track Chairs: Ronit Purian and Avi Cohen
View Details

Submissions will be accepted in the following categories:

  1. Individual Research/Policy/Practitioner Proposals to Standard or Special Tracks in the form of i) full research papers or ii) extended abstracts
  2. Session Proposals

Individual Research/Policy/Practitioner Proposals to Standard or Special Tracks: Full research papers

For the benefit of those authors who wish to submit their paper for consideration in the open-access Data & Policy Journal ( published by Cambridge University Press, we are integrating the review process for the Conference into that of the Journal; it is intended that the reviews performed for the Conference will be considered as part of the Journal’s peer review procedure, leading to faster decisions in the Journal and the potential of publication ahead of the Conference. Authors interested in taking advantage of this integrated process can submit a full paper through the Conference’s EasyChair system by the deadline of 25 March 2021.

In order to submit a full paper, authors can use the LaTeX and Word templates available via the Data & Policy Instructions for Authors (

Please consider the following points, which are described in more detail in the instructions that are linked to above:

Data & Policy has two main categories: Research Articles (presenting novel findings; approx 8,000 words inclusive of references) and Commentaries (an overview of existing knowledge about an issue; approx 4,000 words). In your article, please include a heading that indicates into which category your article falls;

The Journal also requires authors to provide a policy significance statement, a competing interest statement, a funding statement and a data availability statement in their article;

The Journal encourages authors to make replication data and materials openly available and to link to these in the data availability statement in their article;

Authors should watermark or otherwise indicate in the full paper that it is ‘under review’.

The review process is likely to include multiple iterations that extend beyond the timeline of the conference, and publication is subject to reviewer comments being reflected in the final paper.

Note that Conference acceptance does not guarantee publication in Data & Policy.

Individual Research/Policy/Practitioner Proposals to Standard or Special Tracks: Extended abstract

The process is essentially unchanged from the 2020 conference. This should be 1,000 words maximum, including a title, research/policy question, research methodology and data used, and key findings. Authors who decide to just submit an extended abstract – in order to present at the Conference – will still have the option of submitting to the Journal at a later date if they wish to do so, but will not benefit from the integrated review procedure.

Note also that some Special Track Chairs are intending to guest-edit thematic collections of articles in Data & Policy, so you may be separately contacted by the Chair about the potential of submitting to the Journal.

Session Proposals

Session proposals should comprise a combination of 3-4 presentations from researchers and/or practitioners, each of whom must provide an abstract (1,000 words maximum). A description of the panel should also be submitted (500 words maximum).

Review and Assessment process for Conference submissions

All submissions to the Conference will be assessed by peer review for their suitability for the Conference, according to the following criteria:

  • Potential contribution to the debates in the field
  • Potential for stimulating debate in the Conference
  • Freshness of the content, novelty and originality
  • Formulation of the research/policy question
  • Data and methodology
  • Quality of writing and presentation

Conflicts of interest must be declared, and affected submissions will be moved from affected tracks for the purpose of review by the other members of the organising committee. Track Chairs will work with the organisers to achieve this.

Guidance for reviewers on using EasyChair is available as a pdf here

Essential further information for reviewers of full papers

In addition to assessment of suitability for the conference, full papers will receive peer review which is aligned to that of the Data and Policy journal . Thus research papers will receive 3 reviews, and commentaries will receive 2. The reviewer is asked to comment in full on all of the following:

– the paper’s significance, noting what is original / interesting

– the overall quality

– the technical correctness and scientific soundness

– the clarity and length

– the suitability for the journal and conference

The reviewer will score to indicate whether the paper

– is accepted for the conference and suitable for invitation to submit to Data & Policy

– is suitable for the conference, but is not yet ready for publication

– is not suitable for the conference

If the article is invited to submit to Data & Policy, this review will form part of its peer review audit trail.

Following peer review, the final decision on inclusion in the conference and invitation to submit a revised paper will rest with the International Organisation, who have an overview of the Conference programme as a whole. This is to ensure a varied and balance programme for the benefit of all conference attendees.

Further information for extended abstracts and session proposals

Extended abstracts and session proposals will be reviewed by the track chair and one other reviewer. The reviewer will score to indicate whether the submission is accepted for the conference, or rejected. Following peer review, the final decision on inclusion in the conference will rest with the International Organisation Committee, who have an overview of the Conference programme as a whole. This is to ensure a varied and balance programme for the benefit of all conference attendees.

Post-acceptance of submission for conference presentation (preliminary information)

Extended abstract submissions: authors will be invite to submit a discussion paper to the Data for Policy community profile on the Zenodo platform. Other materials that they wish to share can be included – such as their presentation slides, or any related data sets. Any material submitted to Zenodo is citable, so it can be referenced in any future publications.

Full paper authors will also be encouraged to make their paper and other relevant material available before the conference, using the Data for Policy community on Zenodo.

Further details on how to submit will be provided nearer the time. The Data for Policy Zenodo site is available at

Authors may be required to prepare video presentations in advance of the conference. Further details will be provided nearer the time, if appropriate.

How to Submit

Submissions closed on 25th March 2021

Venue and Registration Information

The Data for Policy 2021 Conference will be hosted by University College London.

University College London
Wilkins Building
Gower St, Bloomsbury,
London WC1E 6BT

UCL is London’s leading multidisciplinary university. Founded in 1826 in the heart of London, UCL was the first university in England to welcome students of any religion and the first to welcome women on equal terms with men.

UCL operates in a global context and is committed to excellence, innovation and the
promotion of global understanding in all of its activities: research, teaching, learning, enterprise and community engagement. Its distinctive approach seeks to inspire its community of staff, students and partners to transform how the world is understood, how knowledge is created and shared and the way that global problems are solved.

Data for Policy 2021 is a fee-paying event and all conference participants, including presenters, will be responsible for arranging their own travel and accommodation. We have limited funding to support student participation; those who wish to be considered for these grants should send a CV and cover letter explaining their case to .

Data for Policy is also committed to increasing diversity in its presenter community. We understand that the cost of registration may be a barrier to participation, and are therefore delighted to offer Data for Policy diversity scholarships to suitable candidates from groups which are currently underrepresented in our community, in particular those from developing nations, who will extend our geographic diversity.  Scholarship awards are based on the level of financial need, and the appropriateness of the opportunity afforded to the applicant. To be eligible, applicants must have no other source of funding to meet the cost of registration. Please send a CV and cover letter explaining their case to . In both cases, applications should be made after completion of abstract submission.


For all questions related to Special Tracks at the conference, please contact; and for questions relating to Special Collections in Data & Policy, please contact

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