Odisha govt collaborates with University of Chicago to set up data, policy, innovation centre

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Saturday signed an MoU with the University of Chicago Trust, India, to set up a data, policy, and innovation centre (DPIC) in Bhubaneswar that will enable rigorous, evidence-based governance while using new advances in econometrics, data science, and machine learning.

The MoU was signed between CEO of Odisha Computer Application Centre (OCAC) Manoj Kumar Pattnaik and executive director of University of Chicago Center, India, Leni Chaudhari here in the presence of IT Minister Tusharkanti Behera.

The scope of this programmatic partnership will involve researchers from the University of Chicago providing data analysis and evaluation assistance to the government of Odisha schemes and policies to benefit the state districts and blocks.

Talking about the collaboration, Pattnaik said, “We are excited to work with the researchers at EPIC India and it will help lead Odisha to become a leading data Center hub. Using evidence-based research, we hope the DPIC will act as a Center of excellence for collecting big data from many sources, analysing that data using contemporary econometric and statistical models, and producing the necessary creative policy guides.”

Under this partnership, researchers from the University of Chicago will aid the government of Odisha in conducting research, monitoring, impact evaluation, and project implementation in the energy and environment, health, education, agriculture, and water & sanitation sectors.

Along with that, the partnership will also entail capacity development of personnel and institutions for creating a hub for modern data analysis and knowledge sharing, he said.

Outlining the different contours of DPIC with its technical and application possibilities, Anant Sudarshan, senior fellow at the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, said, “To enable rigorous, evidence-based governance under the program, we have outlined a three-pronged strategy that would include creating a hub for modern data analysis, field pilots using randomized control trials and training and capacity building.”.

Chaudhari said they have previously joined the state government in rolling out the star rating programme for industries, and now this new partnership will help source big data efficiently and design innovative energy and environment solutions.

“We aim to bring our expertise in applied research on innovative policy ideas to develop mechanisms that facilitate increased energy access and reduced health and environmental problems,” Chaudhari said.


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