Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives




EU funding opportunity for data-driven policy development - Big Data Europe paves the way

The social sciences have been given a boost in a recent call to receive funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme which will close on 2 February 2017.

The focus of the call is clear from its title, “Policy-development in the age of big data: data-driven policy-making, policy-modelling and policy-implementation”; it also places an emphasis on “facilitating the interpretation of big data for public communication” and “citizens’ participation”.

“This call in itself, which is directed at the social sciences, is one of the many positive results of the Big Data Europe project, in which CESSDA is a proud partner”, stated Ivana Ilijašić Veršić (CESSDA), domain leader for the social sciences in Big Data Europe. “We are only just over half way through the project and this call encourages us to continue to work on big data issues in the future”, she added.

Big Data Europe (BDE) is a Coordination- and Support Action (CSA) funded in the H2020 programme, which has been running since 2015 and runs until the end of 2017. Its main objective is to raise awareness about the potential in regards to economic and societal benefits that can are provided by efficient big data management. Outreach activities regarding big data are organised in all of the seven societal challenges identified by the European Commission.

CESSDA leads work on the sixth societal challenge, SC6, “Europe in a changing world - inclusive, innovative and reflective societies”, which is all about social sciences and digital humanities. Two workshops have already taken place since the start of the project as well as three webinars, including one on the general data protection regulation and another on citizens’ budget at a municipal level.

“The main technical achievement this year has been the launch of the the open source Big Data Europe Platform”, stated Martin Kaltenböck, technical lead for all seven SC in BDE is Semantic Web Company (SWC).

“We believe that the platform lowers the barrier to entry for new big data users and scientists from different domains, enabling them to experiment with a variety of big data tools in a plug and play fashion. It’s fun – try it!” said Ronald Siebes from Vreij Universiteit Amsterdam, one of the architects of the platform.

Some examples of what the platform can do is to classify traffic conditions and make predictions, ingest and process data streams from wind farms to enhance condition monitoring, or detect geo-located events in news sites and social media and show the correlation of such events with changes detected by comparing Earth Observation satellite images (such as the construction or destruction of settlements). In the social sciences, the pilot shows open budget and budget execution data from three different cities in a homogeneous way so that they can be analysed, compared and visualised.

As the year draws to a close, CESSDA and SWC are investigating a possible future collaboration to keep up the good work and continue to engage the social science disciplines in the big data era.

Find out about the call “Policy-development in the age of big data: data-driven policy-making, policy-modelling and policy-implementation” (deadline 02.02.2017).

Find out more about CESSDA’s contribution to BigDataEurope here.

Read the press release about the BigDataEurope Platform and the flyer.

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