Oxfam among four charities taking part in first DataDive

Duncan Ross, director of DataKind UK, plans to organise more free events to help charities get more out of data science and 'big data'

Duncan Ross
Duncan Ross

Oxfam is among the four not-for-profit organisations that will take part in the first DataDive, a free event aimed at helping them get more from their data.

The event is taking place in London from today until Sunday and will bring together third sector organisations and volunteer data scientists, who will spend the weekend helping the organisations involved use their data more effectively. 

The other organisations taking part are HelpAge International, Community and Voluntary Action Tameside and Hampshire County Council’s special educational needs services.

The event, which is expected to take place three or four times a year and will be open to other charities, has been organised by DataKind UK, a not-for-profit organisation that was launched in April to provide access to the skills of volunteer analysts to charities that lack funds.

The organisation said it aimed to "share insights, understanding and positive action through data in the service of humanity".

Duncan Ross, director of DataKind UK and director of data science at Teradata, a US analytics company that is sponsoring the event, said that DataKind was in the process of becoming a registered charity.

"Our goal is to bring together volunteers from the data community with charities and voluntary organisations so the third sector can gain access to the world of data science and big data," he said.

DataKind UK has a contact list of 300 volunteer data scientists and analysts, with 140 signed up to attend the weekend’s event, he said. 

The DataDives were only a part of what the organisation aimed to do, said Ross. He said plans included long-term projects with charities that would "enmesh" the data scientist volunteers with charities, drop-in sessions during working hours and closer work with corporate partners.

Ross said he had worked with charities before, but it was the first time he had used his skills as an analyst. He said many in his industry would be excited by the opportunity to use their expertise to help good causes.

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