Odisha Govt rolls out partnership with Chicago university trust to leverage data for innovation, policy decision

Bhubaneswar: The Government of Odisha rolled out a five-year strategic partnership with the University of Chicago Trust (UCT) for using data to advance innovations and drive policy decisions, today. This was announced in a grant agreement event for Data, Policy and Innovation Centre (DPIC) here.

Earlier in January this year, both parties had signed an MoU to establish DPIC that will support evidence-based research in areas of energy and environment, health, education, agriculture and water & sanitation, and catalyse the efforts to develop a high-quality data interface for enabling evidence-based governance of existing programs.

Talking about the collaboration, Electronics and Information Technology Minister Tusharkanti Behera said, “Establishment of the DPIC is a testament to Odisha government’s commitment to the State’s development across various sectors.” He expressed satisfaction that scholars from around the world are conducting research in Odisha and taking their findings to the rest of the world, adding that evidence and data-driven policies would tremendously benefit the state.

DPIC aims to enable rigorous, evidence-based governance while using new advances in econometrics, data science, and machine learning and act as a center of excellence for collecting big data from many sources. The UCT through the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC India) and its other research centers are supporting the government in operationalising DPIC.

“Odisha has always been at the forefront of using data for testing innovative ideas. Five years ago, we worked with the State government to launch a one-of-its-kind and data-driven transparency program for industries. In a way, it’s a homecoming for us and we are excited to work closely with the government in further advancing data and evidence-driven policymaking,” Professor Michael Greenstone, Professor in Economics Milton Friedman and Director of Energy Policy Institute at University of Chicago said.

The partnership will adopt a comprehensive three-pronged approach that will not only focus on research but also on increasing the capacity of government officials in Odisha towards enhancing the utilisation of data to enhance decision-making in the State.

Researchers from the University of Chicago will provide support to the government by offering insights into the efficacy of ongoing programs, proposing modifications to accomplish government objectives, and creating and assessing innovative large-scale research field pilots.

Additionally, the team will use the knowledge gained from research in Odisha to expand operations not only within the State but also in other parts of the country.

The signing of the agreement, which took place at Odisha Computer Application Centre (OCAC) in Bhubaneswar, was attended by E&IT Minister Tusharkanti Behera, Principal Secretary Manoj Mishra, Additional Secretary and OCAC CEO Manoj Kumar Pattnaik, Special Secretary and OCAC MD Manas Ranjan Panda and senior officials from the University of Chicago.

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