UWaterloo's Second Annual Policy Datafest

Friday, January 24, 2020

Last year, the University of Waterloo successfully organized Canada’s first policy datafest. The objective of datafest is to give graduate students an opportunity to demonstrate their skills by analyzing important policy questions with appropriate data analytics and offering relevant recommendations. Here is a link to last year's presentations

This year’s datafest has been scheduled for Friday, Feb 28th. The presentations will be from 1:30 to 4 pm on Feb 28th at EC5 - East Campus 5 Enterprise Theatre 305.

The datafest will consist of teams of graduate students from different disciplines hacking and studying datasets provided by several government organizations. Participants so far include the Canada School of Public Service, Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services, Ontario Ministry of Sports, Culture and Tourism, Ontario Ministry of Transportation, the Treasury Board of Canada, Immigration and Citizenship Canada, and Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada. The event will conclude with a presentation of findings and adjudication of the "best hack" by a team. Teams will be judged by not only the sophistication of statistical techniques, but their ability to explain the story behind their findings and skill in crafting relevant policy considerations through power point presentations.

Participation is open only to graduate students registered at the University of Waterloo. Registration for participation will begin this Friday January 24th and conclude on 5 pm Friday January 31st. Only fourteen teams can be accommodated and so registration will cease as soon as fourteen teams are confirmed. Registration can be done by sending an email to Professor Anindya Sen (asen@uwaterloo.ca) of the Department of Economics, requesting permission to compete and along with the names and emails of graduate students in the team. Student teams must consist of between 3-5 members.

Teams will be allowed to submit their preferences for different questions around mid-February and will receive the necessary data to analyze the question they have been assigned on Thursday February 27th. Hence, students have bit more than a day to conduct their analysis and produce a presentation. The top four teams will receive prizes from the sponsor which is the Royal Bank of Canada. The top prize is $800, Second prize- $500, Third prize- $350, and Fourth prize - $200.

The event is being sponsored by Royal Bank and last year's adjudication panel consisted of:

·         Paul Thompson, Associate Deputy Minister at ISED

·         Benoit Tessier, Director General, Skills & Economic Strategy Tables at Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED)

·         Joanne Khouryati - Director General - Innovation Canada, ISED

·         Erin Campbell, Director, ISED

·         Ramesh Siromani, Senior Vice President of Knowledge and Transformation, RBC

·         Mike Henry, Executive Vice President and Chief Data Officer Scotiabank

·         Iain Klugman, CEO, Communitech (possible)

·         Soussan Tabari, Chief Information Officer, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ontario Ministry of Education

·         Hongwei Liu, CEO MappedIn

·         Nick Kuriya, Vice President, Strategy and Corporate Development , George Weston Limited

·         Peter Van Beek, Co-Director,Waterloo AI institute

·         Iain Klugman, CEO, Communitech

There is a lunch from 12 pm onwards for all participants. There will also be a networking session for participants after the presentations. Below is a table of the questions that was analyzed during datafest along with the departmental affiliation of the graduate student team:

Departmental affiliation of Team

Question

Dataset sponsor

Sociology

How successful are Canadians in collaborating with foreign inventors to develop new inventions? What is the impact of collaborating with foreign inventors on the likelihood for a patent to be issued?

Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada (ISED)

Master of Public Service

Do Canadian firms invest as much as their international counterparts on research and development (R&D)?

ISED

Master of Public Service

Estimating the effects of emissions (total particulate matter, SOx, and NOx) on life expectancy and morbidity

Environment and Climate Change Canada

Psychology

What is the effect of educational attainment on income and unemployment in broad occupational categories and skill levels? Are there differences across Canadian regions or between males and females?

ISED

Psychology

How have commuting patterns from and to the GTA changed over the past two decades?

Ontario Ministry of Transportation

Master of Public Service

How does a sense of belonging in community, neighbourhood quality, access to community services and other factors affect mental and physical well-being? Evidence from the Waterloo Region Community Wellbeing Survey

Region of Waterloo

Master of Public Service

Are children in low income areas more likely to have lower language, cognitive development and communication skills? Evidence from the Early Development Instrument (EDI)

Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services

Master of Public Service

What is the effect of educational attainment on income and unemployment in broad occupational categories and skill levels? Are there differences across Canadian regions or between males and females? Evidence from Census Data

ISED

Economics

What are the key factors that impact the demand for PCT patents at CIPO?

ISED

Economics

What is the relationship between unemployment and wages along various broad occupational categories and skill levels?  Are there differences across Canadian regions or between males and females

ISED

Master of Global Governance

How does a sense of belonging in community, neighbourhood quality, access to community services and other factors affect mental and physical well-being? Evidence from the Waterloo Region Community Wellbeing Survey 

Region of Waterloo

English

Do people now use digital resources in public libraries more than print media?

Ontario Ministry of Sports, Culture, and Tourism

Economics

What are the main determinants (e.g., gender, income, region, age, language, attitudes) of spending on copyrighted content in Canada? Do the determinants vary in importance depending on the type of content?

ISED

Economics

Does higher internet speed in rural areas result in more economic development and growth?

ISED

Master of Public Service

Understanding the effects of different types of fuel used in electricity generation on emission levels (total particulate matter, SOx, and NOx) across provinces

Environment and Climate Change Canada

Contact Professor Anindya Sen (asen@uwaterloo.ca) of the Department of Economics to register, or ask questions.

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