March to April 2017: Application Period
Individuals and teams submitted research proposals for innovative climate solutions.
April to May 2017: Selection Period
Approximately 100 participants (individuals or teams) were selected.
May to October 2017: Research Period
Selected researchers were notified and introduced to relevant Resource Contributors to gain access to Data and/or Technology in order to use it for the purpose of implementing their submissions as per the Terms & Conditions. Final projects were submitted in October 2017.
October to November 2017: Evaluation Period
Final project submissions were reviewed by a committee of evaluators with expertise in climate change and/or data science. The awards ceremony took place on November 12, 2017.
Applications were evaluated based on quality, clarity, credibility, and potential impact.
Climate change is a global problem, affecting countries and communities around the world. It threatens livelihoods, homes, and entire ecosystems and cultures — and these effects will only worsen with time. Just as climate change affects all of us, our collective talents and abilities are needed to address it.
Big data is already transforming business and society. Imagine if we could use it to address the effects of climate change.
The Challenge aimed to demonstrate the transformative power of data-driven innovation, mobilizing business leaders and the data science community to generate new approaches to climate action and sustainable development. It presented a great opportunity for participants to explore company data and conduct groundbreaking research.
The projects developed through the Challenge added to a growing body of examples of the shared value of big data and public-private cooperation for climate action and sustainable development.
When possible, and at the sole discretion of Global Pulse, the Challenge aims to connect research teams with relevant field practitioners in order to facilitate pilot projects and operational solutions.
In both the public and private sectors, managers rely on timely, accurate, and comprehensive data to identify emerging risks and opportunities and to make operational and investment decisions.
Climate action is no different. While traditional sources of climate data can describe how the climate is changing, they do not always illuminate what solutions would be most effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building community resilience.
New sources of big data from different industries and geographies can be applied to construct a more complete picture, and can enhance our understanding of the dynamic relationship between human behavior and the climate system.
Big data can complement traditional data sources in two main ways:
MONITORING AND IMPACT EVALUATION
Big data can reveal the effectiveness of current efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and the impacts that climate change is already having on communities.
For example, aggregated mobile data has been used to understand the mobility patterns of people affected by floods. This research yielded insights that could improve disaster relief management and infrastructure planning.
DEVELOPMENT OF NEW SOLUTIONS
Big data can generate insights to help identify novel approaches to climate mitigation and adaptation. For example, aggregated mobile data has been used to measure urban traffic congestion. Transportation companies and policymakers can use such insights to improve fleet management and transit planning, reducing emissions while better serving their communities.
Data for Climate Action was an unprecedented open innovation challenge to channel data science and big data from the private sector to fight climate change. The Challenge provided a platform for teams of researchers to work with specific datasets to generate insights relevant to climate action.
Data for Climate Action was enabled by “data philanthropy,” a movement whereby companies share their data for the public good.
For more information on participation please see the Terms & Conditions.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at a historic UN summit — is comprised of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Over the next fifteen years, the world will mobilize to achieve these goals, which include ending all forms of poverty, fighting inequalities, and tackling climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.
This Challenge aimed specifically to advance SDG #13 (Climate Action). However, because the 2030 Agenda is integrated and indivisible — and climate action affects the attainment of its other goals — the Challenge was also designed to support achievement of the 2030 Agenda as a whole, including a specific thematic focus on how climate action relates to the other goals.
Data philanthropy, or private sector data sharing, is a movement in which companies grant access to data for the public good.
Analyzing aggregated private sector data — such as mobile phone usage or purchasing patterns — can provide new insight into the effects of public policies, or the resilience of communities to food insecurity, disease outbreaks, or flooding.
A growing number of companies are making their data available to researchers and innovators through challenges and competitions. See below for examples of other challenges.
Other relevant articles and links:
Though many challenges have been organized to harness private sector data for public good, this unprecedented challenge galvanized a wide array of companies that will contribute their datasets and tools to researchers.
Examples of previous challenges include the following:
French mobile network operator Orange has hosted two Data for Development (D4D) challenges, sharing anonymized mobile datasets with the global research community to address country-specific development challenges.
Spanish bank BBVA invited international developers to create apps powered by its anonymized, geo-located card transaction data.
Telecom Italia hosted a Big Data Challenge, sharing a year of anonymized mobile phone data from two Italian cities.
The Data Discovery Challenge was launched in 2014 by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) to combine data provided by the IDA’s Federated Data Registry with public and private sector data.
UN Global Pulse hosted a Big Data Climate Challenge in 2014 in conjunction with the Secretary-General’s Climate Summit.