Research Domain
Data Science for Social Impact

Research Leaders
Daniela Paolotti, Michele Tizzoni

The activity of the Data Science for Social Impact domain research is mainly focused on bringing the expertise of ISI researchers in data science, data mining and machine learning, to the service of non-profit organizations that are working in the field of social innovation, philanthropy, international development and humanitarian action.

The data revolution has impacted almost every business sector and the work of many organizations. Tech giants are thriving on decision making based on vast amounts of user data collected from their digital services. However, the impact of such new paradigm is not limited to the corporate sector. The ability to harness large data volumes to gain new insights into human behavior is becoming more and more relevant for policymakers and political institutions. In particular, an opportunity emerges to gain a better understanding of changes in human well-being, and to get real-time feedback on how well policy responses are working.

Within the Data for Good domain, the ISI Foundation has established research partnerships with various organizations of the United Nations such as UNICEF, Data2X and the UN Global Pulse. Such collaborations usually take form of Data Collaboratives, a new form of collaboration, beyond the public-private partnership model, in which participants from different sectors -  in particular companies  -  exchange their data to create public value.

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Projects

Data Collaboratives
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The term data collaborative refers to a new form of collaboration, beyond the public-private partnership model, in which participants from different sectors — including private companies, research institutions, and government agencies — can exchange data to help solve public problems. In the coming months and years, data collaboratives will be essential vehicles for harnessing the vast stores of privately held data toward the public good.

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Data for Social Good and Development
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The technological revolution ignited by the pervasivity of the Web, of mobile phones and sensors is generating an unprecedented wealth of data that is able to transform any sector of human knowledge. Such revolution is currently led by the tech industry giants but data science can also serve those organizations that work to change the world and make it a better place.

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Gender and Urban Mobility: Addressing Unequal Access to Urban Transportation for Women and Girls
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Mobility, or the extent to which one can reach a desired destination, is one of our most basic needs. Access to mobility is also a prerequisite toward human development and having access to equal opportunities. As such mobility is a complex, gendered issue that requires a multidimensional, data-driven approach to fully unpack and offer insights on the way forward for decision-makers.

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Social Media Analytics for Youth Unemployment
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This project targets the problem of youth unemployment in Italy, whose rate touched 40% in 2014 according to the International Labour Organisation, aiming at improving the current understanding of factors driving active job search, as well as the institutional capabilities of acting on this problem by means of targeted campaigns.

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