Data stewardship for people and society

Level of detail:


Valentina Pavel


Session Room 4


08:45 - 10:15 UTC+0 | Thursday 10 Dec






Presenters: Astha Kapoor – Co-founder Aapti Institute, Kasia Odrozek – Insights Director, Mozilla Foundation, Jessica Montgomery – Executive Director at Accelerate Programme for Scientific Discovery Cambridge University, Javi Creus – Co-founder, Salus Coop

Session host: Valentina Pavel

Goal: This session is about building a better understanding of the data stewardship landscape, what initiatives exist in this space and the range of viewpoints. Our aim is to showcase the framings and the kinds of principles and practices which can help shape the use of data for social good. The panel will share a range of research on frameworks and models for governing data in a way which is human – and society – centred, privacy-preserving and empowering. We’ll discuss how ideas can be put into practice, together with their strengths and limits. We want the audience to critically engage with the concept of data stewardship and we want to hear from you: how can data stewardship help do good with data?

Description: Data can help tackle the world’s biggest challenges, and organisations and governments around the world turn to data to tackle major societal problems, like combating the COVID-19 pandemic or supporting cities to become smarter and more innovative. But this must be offset by efforts to develop methods for the responsible management of data on behalf of data subjects; achieving both goals simultaneously – using data for good causes and protecting data subjects’ rights – is not straightforward.

Defining ‘good’ causes is a subjective, moving target that can only be achieved through delicate human-centred deliberation, and protecting data rights requires constant navigation of regulatory and ethical obligations. Even if both these hurdles are overcome, there are often technical trials involved in getting data out of silos and opening it up for research and innovation. To untangle these complexities, researchers and practitioners are turning towards novel concepts and models for data governance, such as ‘data trusts’ or ‘data institutions’. Many of these models fall under the notion of data stewardship.

The panel members will share their research on these different approaches to data stewardship, and discuss some potential principles which individuals and organisations can follow in their interactions with data. We’re aiming to leave you more informed about the nuances of doing good with data, and equipped to carry out better practice themselves. If you’re struggling with similar issues, we’d love to hear from your experience and whether our emerging work at the Ada Lovelace Institute is useful and where would you like to see us going next on this. You can find our work here: Exploring principles for data stewardship: a case study analysis