NIRAS is creating a world-leading centre of excellence for the use of data in development
This week sees the official launch of the NIRAS Data Futures Hub. Based in Jakarta, the Hub aims to bring together different expertise related to data, mixing innovation with traditional approaches to data challenges.
The Hub was co-founded by LTS International’s Matthew Shearing and Valentine Gandhi and will operate with the support of NIRAS Indonesia. It is supported by a range of regional and global staff in the NIRAS Group and will work closely with external global partners. The Hub aims to facilitate partnerships and expertise in M&E, data science, the use of emerging technology, official statistics, and any other relevant disciplines.
While there will be a focus on Southeast Asia and the Pacific, the Hub wants to leverage the growing data capability in the region to solve global challenges.
Matthew Shearing explains: “we have a number of inter-related goals such as: improving NIRAS’s approaches to data in the way we bid for and implement projects; assessing the data challenges of development partners; offering tailored solutions such as research and strategies that get the right balance between innovation, a focus on data quality and sustainable long term solutions; supporting the growing potential for South-South cooperation in data expertise; and, creating a global community of practice that looks to NIRAS as a world-leader in both data and the way we work with partners.”
I am really excited about how the Data Futures Hub brings LTS and NIRAS together in ways we anticipated in the merger. Together, and working through the new Hub, we can genuinely claim to have access to the best global expertise in data.
Data Futures Hub Co-Founder, Valentine Gandhi, points to the importance of the Hub in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): “There is an emerging need for fresh approaches towards measuring both our progress towards the SDGs and the effectiveness of interventions that aim to support them.
“The donor community and sovereign governments are looking for more efficient ways of delivering data-related activity, as well as testing innovations such as blockchain, big data and artificial intelligence. The Hub will help us respond to these needs by working better together internally and with outside partners, putting us one large step ahead of our competitors.”
The Hub’s launch coincides with the appointment of David Shirley as the new Country Director for Indonesia. David welcomed the “opportunity to help this important initiative to grow out of the tremendous supply and demand for enhanced data related services that we have here in Indonesia and the wider region”.
Matthew Shearing explains more in this You Tube clip:
Further details can be found on the new Data Futures Hub website, and you can also sign up to follow the Hub on Instagram. Please get in touch Valentine-Gandhi@ltis.co.uk if you are developing bids for any data-related topics to explore how the Hub can help you, or if you have ideas for research topics or partner institutions, or want to contribute more broadly.