Big Data Charity Announces First London Event

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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DataDive, organised by DataKind UK, will help organisations like Oxfam and HelpAge take advantage of analytics without any risk

DataKind UK, a non-profit on a mission to advise other non-profits how to best use huge quantities of data collected during their charitable efforts, has announced the date of its first London event. The inaugural DataDive will take place at the Mozilla offices in the heart of Covent Garden on July 26-28.

The event is sponsored by Teradata, a US analytics company which has previously won a place on the list of  “World’s Most Ethical Companies” produced by the Etisphere Institute.

The local chapter of the organisation hopes to follow the success of DataKind US (formerly Data Without Borders), which was launched in 2011. But despite close cooperation with the US colleagues, the UK branch is being run independently.

In the service of humanity

The idea behind DataKind UK was developed by Duncan Ross, the head of data sciences at Teradata. The organisation aspires to bring together developers, data scientists and the representatives of charities to “share insights, understanding and positive action through data in the service of humanity.”

Pavel L Photo and VideoDataKind UK, which opened its offices in April, is already hosting regular meetings and workshops. In the future, it also plans to run DataCorps projects, in which technologists, project managers and designers will consult a single organisation for free, for a period of one to five months.

Later this month, DataKind UK is organising its first DataDive – a free weekend event that will serve as a forum in which private and public sector companies can share experience and best practices with non-profits, which often have limited resources and are more risk-averse. It promises to address specific real-life data challenges, and is currently looking for volunteers.

“Most commercial organisations are well-aware of the huge potential that data analytics and big data offers in informing all types of decisions,” said Ross. “Unfortunately, most charities lack the budget to establish and maintain teams of data scientists. By providing access to the skills of data analytics volunteers, we aim to bridge that gap.”

Among the organisations which already signed up for the event are Oxfam, HelpAge International, Community and Voluntary Action Tameside and Hampshire County Council’s Special Educational Needs.

DataKind UK is calling for more participants to get involved. More information and the registration form are available on the organisation’s website.

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