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Data for Policy Fellowship

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Data for Policy Fellowship

With the evolving data science landscape in India, the Development Intelligence Unit (DIU) set-up by the Transforming Rural India Foundation (TRIF) and Sambodhi Research and Communications Pvt. Ltd. announces a fellowship programme that will place early-career professionals, interested in improved public policy outcomes and building a career in data science1, within public offices in India to work at the exciting intersection of data science and public policy.

Governments are increasingly using data and furthering their data science capabilities, which is enhancing the use cases for data science in the public policy sphere. This includes collection of administrative data for performance management and progress tracking or input planning and outcome monitoring, as well as census and sample surveys for the construction of indices and tracking of progress in development or other sector specific indicators. The platforms and interface for these data systems range from traditional paper based instruments and reports to electronic data collection programmes and sophisticated online dashboards, which feed into easier to disseminate infographics and visualizations as well where longer form technical reports do not find an audience.

These are leading to a spread in the intent of data driven decision making within large social sector programmes implemented by the state. As public offices move in this direction with the intent to be data-driven, using data for decision making, there are two key issues; one is availability of the required skill set and the other is the culture and habit of using data to drive decision making. The latter issue is admittedly difficult to solve but initiatives with the necessary administrative will, enabling environment, technical expertise, and the required resources including a well-built or functioning data system may be able to overcome these hurdles. The fellowship programme aims to identify good driven talent as well as work with stakeholders to identify the right offices and environments where achieving the objective of moving the data-driven decision-making agenda forward is feasible.

About Fellowship

As more data is collected and becomes available, there is a growing need for data scientists by government, non-government organizations, and the private sector to manage these datasets and use them to drive impact, specifically social impact. As part of this movement, the DIU launches its inaugural and first in-country data for policy fellowship.

At the intersection of data and public policy, the fellowship is a unique opportunity and the first in India that will place early career professionals within public offices to support data related work, which includes collecting primary data or using public intent data to generate evidence that will support and enable improvements in public service delivery. The fellowship will have a two-fold outcome; (i) Building the use of data science and strengthening or building momentum for data systems in public offices and social impact programmes, and (ii) Providing a platform for people with training in the social sciences and statistics to work as data scientists on large data sets and/or large-scale government programmes to improve public service delivery.

The fellowship is an 24-month programme with placement in a public office that designs and implements public policy with guidance and mentorship from a thought leader and expert who is aware of and has shaped or worked extensively in the data for public policy eco-system in India. The programme seeks to;

As data fellows within the government system, fellows’ primary role will be to support the programme’s success by working towards its objectives with responsibilities that include;