Data for Policy 2016

Frontiers of Data Science for Government: Ideas, Practices and Projections

15-16 September 2016, computer laboratory, university of cambridge
The 2016 conference theme “Frontiers of Data Science for Government: Ideas, Practices, and Projections” was intended to capture two main developments at the time. The first was the cooling-off period from the hype of theory-free big data speaking for itself (Anderson, 2008), and its replacement by the more general term ‘data science’ to encompass both established theory-driven and new data-driven methods of creating value from all available data at hand. The second emphasis was on the move from abstract thinking and formulations of the Data for Policy space to real-world practices and projections, and capturing cutting edge research in this new area. Returning to the University of Cambridge, the conference hosted 191 delegates and extended its supporting partner network to include the newly founded Alan Turing Institute (the UK’s National Institute for Data Science), the University of Oxford (Oxford Internet Institute), the European Commission, UCL, Leiden University (Centre for Innovation), Technopolis Group, and New York University (GovLab). Data for Policy’s Zenodo community profile was also set up as an open-access repository to share conference discussion papers and other pre-conference material.

Keynote Speakers

  • Enrico Giovannini, UN Data Revolution Group; University of Rome
  • Jim Waldo, Harvard University
Plenary Speakers
  • Quentin Palfrey, J-PAL North America, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Barbara Ubaldi, The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
  • Rayid Ghani, University of Chicago
  • Maive Rute, European Commission
  • Helen Margetts, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford
  • Philip Treleaven, UCL
Watch videos of these lectures here


  • University of Cambridge – Computer Laboratory, Centre for Science and Policy, Cambridge Big Data Strategic Research Initiative, Digital Humanities Network, Cambridge Public Policy Initiative
  • European Commission
  • Alan Turing Institute
  • Imperial College London – Data Science Institute
  • London School of Economics & Political Sciences – Department of Methodology
  • University College London – Department of Computer Science, UCL Public Policy, The Bartlett – UCL Faculty of the Built Environment
  • University of Oxford – Oxford Internet Institute
  • Office for National Statistics
  • Royal Statistical Society
  • New York University – The GovLab, Open Governance Research Exchange
  • Leiden University – Centre for Innovation
  • Technopolis Group