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Event Recap: "Big Data and Sustainable Development"

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Students, academics and practitioners from the non-profit and business communities gathered at NYU Stern on April 14 for a discussion on “Big Data and Sustainable Development,” co-hosted by Stern’s Center for Sustainable Business and The Sustainability Practice Network.

The presenters included Robert Kirkpatrick, director of the United Nations Global Pulse; Justine Dowdon, data analyst with the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University; Kirk Borne, principal data scientist at Booz Allen Hamilton; and Louis Coppola, co-founder of the Governance & Accountability Institute. They discussed the ways in which data science can now be used to improve policy decisions, enhance scientific discovery and fuel business innovation. Each presenter shared recent research on ways data can be used in support of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlined in The United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“Data from mobile phones and digital services can help measure poverty, the effectiveness of disaster response and recovery, crop yields and much more. There are many big data sources out there that can be repurposed for sustainable development," Kirkpatrick said.  “But doing so effectively and responsibly will require a new ecosystem of partnerships.”

Following the formal presentations, Vasant Dhar, NYU Stern professor of business and data science, and editor of the journal, Big Data, moderated a panel discussion and audience Q&A on such topics as privacy, accountability and Big Data as a tool for the public good.

Watch the video here.

For more information, please see the Center's website.

Recap written by Public Affairs team.