Researchers at RUSI and Northumbria University have secured UK government funding to conduct a major new project in support of the UK’s response to Covid-19.
The Observatory for Monitoring Data-Driven Approaches to Covid-19 (OMDDAC) will provide a national, public space for the consolidation of knowledge and understanding around data-driven approaches to Covid-19, focused upon legal, ethical, policy and operational challenges.
Data-driven responses are being developed rapidly across the public sector, academia and industry. These include combining digital health datasets within a single dashboard, use of communications data to map trends, monitoring of quarantine behaviour by drones and automated number plate recognition, and access to Bluetooth data for contact tracing.
The Observatory’s interdisciplinary team will collate lessons learned throughout the pandemic by way of stakeholder interviews, case study analysis, representative public surveys and practitioner-focussed guidelines.
The research is supported with funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) , as part of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Covid-19 rapid response funding. UKRI works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish. The project will be delivered in partnership with Northumbria University over the next 12 months.
Alexander Babuta, Lead Researcher and OMDDAC Co-Director, believes the new project will enable RUSI to contribute valuable research expertise to the national response to Covid-19. He added: “RUSI’s leading research on the regulation of technology has been instrumental in shaping UK government policy in relation to policing and national security. Building on this work, we are keen to make a positive and lasting impact to public health policy, and work to ensure the effective, legitimate and ethical use of new technologies across society – both in response to the pandemic now and looking ahead to the future.”