The Jameel Observatory is one of many projects linked to the Data-Driven Innovation (DDI) initiative at the University of Edinburgh and Heriot Watt University as part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland city region deal. In its first annual review, the DDI published a sries of podcasts highlighting examples of data-driven research and partnerships across its six data-driven innovation hubs.

In this podcast episode, Alan Duncan, Guyo Roba and Gary Watmough explain how data and partnerships feature in the Observatory’s work.

As communities in East Africa suffer another serious famine, “the big question at the core of the Jameel Observatory is how can we better prepare for those food shocks, based on all the data that we have, so that we can act in advance of crises.”

Since we started around a year ago, our focus has been on engaging with the stakeholder community in in East Africa: “Rather than coming in with answers, we’re seeking the questions and allowing those to drive the research process.” – Alan Duncan

“I think the real value of the Observatory is in this structure in which we work. We work through the Community of Practice, basically, institutions that have been in that space for long, you know, the policy, the humanitarian actors, the government actors.“ As the Observatory, we are working together to formulate some fundamental and practical questions “around coordination, around financing, around improving the early warning information, improving delivery of early warning information, and so on.” – Guyo Roba

In terms of data, ” there’s an awful lot of data around this, we can see the droughts, and we can see the problems coming up. But it’s what happens to that data afterwards. That seems to be one of the sticking points with is not being translated into action, as quickly as it as it possibly could be … It’s not always that there’s not enough data, it’s sometimes just that data has not been communicated in the right way. It’s not been turned into information that’s easily accessible.” – Gary Watmough

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