Data for Policy 2015

Data for Policy 2015 – Policy-making in the Big Data Era: Opportunities and Challenges – ran from 15-17 June 2015, in Cambridge


Data for Policy 2015 – Policy-making in the Big Data Era: Opportunities and Challenges

15-17 June 2015, Cambridge

Current decision-making processes are far from being optimal to represent the best interests of the public and stakeholders, as contemporary policy domains are very complex, high dimensional and include a large dose of uncertainty. The massive amounts of data captured in our physical world through sensors and electronic devices provide a huge potential to advance these processes. With the availability of new technologies, new formulations are needed on fundamental questions such as how to conduct a census, how to produce labour statistics, or how to incorporate data mined from social media and administrative operations. Efficient procedures to draw links between large-scale data-processing technologies and existing expert knowledge in major policy domains would potentially offer chances to make policy development processes more citizen-focused, taking into account public needs and preferences supported with actual experiences of public services. This however comes with serious privacy and security concerns as intersecting various data sources could reveal unprecedented private information.

The conference committee invited contributions covering the following topics:

  • Information and evidence in digital age
  • Policy-making mechanisms and modelling approaches
  • Existing methodologies, case studies, best practices for use of Big Data in policy
  • Data collection, storage, processing and access procedures
  • Cumulative learning in digital environments, potentials in policy context, challenges and limitations
  • Interaction of domain expertise with digital processing technologies; dealing with imperfect/uncertain data; psychology/behaviour of decision
  • Security and privacy issues; ethics and law

Publications from the Data for Policy 2015 Conference: 

Selected Papers for the Special Issue of Policy & Internet (Wiley) Read more>>

Meyer, E. T., Crowcroft, J., Engin, Z. and Alexander, A. (2017), Data for Public Policy. Policy & Internet, 9: 4–6. doi:10.1002/poi3.147. Read more>>

Guerrero, O. A. and López, E. (2017), Understanding Unemployment in the Era of Big Data: Policy Informed by Data-Driven Theory. Policy & Internet, 9: 28–54. doi:10.1002/poi3.136. Read more >>

Malomo, F. and Sena, V. (2017), Data Intelligence for Local Government? Assessing the Benefits and Barriers to Use of Big Data in the Public Sector. Policy & Internet, 9: 7–27. doi:10.1002/poi3.141. Read more>>

Piscopo, A., Siebes, R. and Hardman, L. (2017), Predicting Sense of Community and Participation by Applying Machine Learning to Open Government Data. Policy & Internet, 9: 55–75. doi:10.1002/poi3.145. Read more>>

Longo, J., Kuras, E., Smith, H., Hondula, D. M. and Johnston, E. (2017), Technology Use, Exposure to Natural Hazards, and Being Digitally Invisible: Implications for Policy Analytics. Policy & Internet, 9: 76–108. doi:10.1002/poi3.144. Read more>>

Partner institutions:

  • Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge
  • Centre for Science and Policy (CSaP), University of Cambridge
  • Data Science Institute (DSI), Imperial College London
  • Department of Methodology, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
  • The Royal Statistical Society (RSS)
  • Sciencewise Programme funded by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS)
  • Office for National Statistics (ONS)
  • London Innovation Society (LIS)
  • Cambridge Big Data, University of Cambridge
  • Digital Humanities Network, University of Cambridge

Multimedia from the Data for Policy 2015 Conference:





The Data for Policy 2015 Conference was held at the University of Cambridge.

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