The India Climate and Health Data Capacity Accelerator
Data.org and J-PAL South Asia launched the India Climate and Health Data Capacity Accelerator in May 2023, with support from Wellcome. The Accelerator aims to create a sustainable and scalable model to strengthen the data capacity of the social sector in India.
To achieve its goal, the Accelerator combines interdisciplinary data skills training with fellowships in social impact organizations. The talent-building programs are anchored at leading Indian universities Ashoka University, BITS Pilani, and IIIT Delhi, while the fellowships are curated by J-PAL South Asia.
About the Capacity Accelerator Network (CAN)
CAN seeks to transform the use of data for social impact by training a new generation of diverse, purpose-driven data practitioners, and enabling social sector organizations to unlock the power of data to meet their missions.
CAN is a global initiative led by data.org. India is the third capacity accelerator created under CAN, following the launch of the United States and sub-Saharan Africa Accelerators, led by the University of Chicago and the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, respectively.
What We Do
The India Data Capacity Accelerator gives social impact professionals and organizations vital tools for using data to address critical challenges at the intersection of climate and health.
The goals of CAN are achieved through three main pillars:
- Training a new generation of data practitioners with a focus on social impact.
- Connecting skilled practitioners with social sector organizations like government agencies and nonprofits to address critical, real-world problems.
- Boosting the ecosystem of data for social impact through the development of open-source curricula and templates for data governance, and unlocking new datasets.
The Accelerator’s academic partners will train existing and aspiring data talent on harnessing, analyzing, and applying data to policy problems. J-PAL South Asia will then curate one-year fellowship opportunities for a select group of professionals, placing them in social impact organizations on innovative projects leveraging climate and health data.
This approach builds on J-PAL South Asia’s fifteen years of experience working collaboratively with ecosystem partners to ensure that policy is informed by scientific evidence.
Join a network of stakeholders committed to using data to drive positive change in India.
Are you an aspiring data scientist with a passion for social impact? Join our Fellowship Program and be a part of projects that make a real difference. As a Data Fellow, you'll receive mentorship, training, and hands-on experience in applying data science to critical challenges.
In order to be eligible for a Fellowship, you must graduate from one of the three specialized postgraduate diploma programs created by our university partners:
- Ashoka University: Postgraduate Certificate in Data Sciences for the Social Sector
- Mode: Online; Part-time
- Applications for 2023 Intake: Closed
- Applications for 2024 Intake: To open in August 2024
- IIIT Delhi: Post-Graduate Diploma in Data Science in Health and Climate Change for Social Impact
- Mode: Online (with in-person final examination); Part-time
- Applications for 2023 Intake: Closed
- Applications for 2024 Intake: To open in September 2024
- BITS Pilani (Pilani, Goa, Hyderabad): Postgraduate Diploma in Data Science for Climate and Health
- Mode: Online; Part-time
- Applications for 2023-24 Intake: Coming Soon
Interested and eligible graduates from these programs will undergo a rigorous selection process led by J-PAL South Asia, and successful candidates will be placed for full-time Fellowships (1 year) and Apprenticeships (3 months) with partnering social impact organizations.
If you're a nonprofit or government agency working on social impact projects, our Data Fellows (1 year) and Apprentices (3 months) can help you unlock the power of data. Host a Fellow and gain access to cutting-edge data skills to enhance your climate and/or health data projects. Learn more here.
Partner engagement is a three-step process:
- Data Maturity Assessment: This assessment helps us understand the current data infrastructure, practices, and capabilities within your organization to tailor the fellowship experience to your needs. (25 minutes)
- Partner Form: Share details about your organization’s activities, use of climate/health data, and expectations from the fellowship. This allows us to assess your alignment with our program objectives and ensure a mutually beneficial partnership. (25 minutes)
- Eligible organizations will be contacted for further discussions on partnership potential and to explore the climate and health data projects that fellows can undertake.
We are looking for seasoned data scientists and domain experts to shape the next generation of social impact professionals, and engage with exciting, new problem statements in climate change and health. Learn more about the mentorship program and access the application form here.
Support our mission to leverage data science for social impact. Your contributions help us train, mentor, and place talented Data Fellows in organizations addressing critical challenges. If you are interested in supporting and expanding CAN’s work please contact [email protected].
Rachna Nag Chowdhuri
Senior Vice President - Impact
Global Innovation Fund
Associate Director, Capacity Accelerator Network (CAN)
Harris School of Public Policy,
University of Chicago
J-PAL South Asia
India Climate Collaborative
Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, MIT;
Founding Director, Statistics and Data Science Center, MIT;
Co-founder, Ikigai Labs
WELL (Water, Environment, Land and Livelihoods) Labs
The India Climate and Health Data Capacity Accelerator team at J-PAL South Asia consists of research, data, and policy experts working out of multiple Indian cities.
Deputy Executive Director, J-PAL South Asia
Provides institutional support and guidance to the initiative
Project Director and Advisor, J-PAL South Asia
Provides advisory support to the set-up and design of the initiative
Director - Strategic Initiatives, J-PAL South Asia
Leads initiative vision, strategy, and growth through strategic public and private partnerships
Research Manager, J-PAL South Asia
Leads project pipeline creation through new partner and project development and supports in overall project execution
G20/C20 Launch Event for India Climate and Health Data Capacity Accelerator on May 15, 2023.
On May 15th 2023, data.org and J-PAL South Asia launched the India Data Capacity Accelerator and announced the names of the three premier universities in India joining the initiative: Ashoka University, BITS Pilani, and IIIT Delhi. In partnership with these universities, the India Accelerator will support the ambitious work of equipping emerging professionals with the interdisciplinary data skills needed to address challenges at the intersection of climate and health.
The launch of the accelerator was celebrated at a day-long convening of leaders across sectors hosted by data.org and the Working Group on Sustainable and Resilient Communities: Climate, Environment, and Net Zero Targets under Civil Society 20 during India’s G20 Presidency 2023. The convening took place at the University of Chicago Center in Delhi, where participants presented expert perspectives and discussed shared goals for impact through the creation of data capacity for climate and health.
J-PAL South Asia & data.org Roundtable on ‘Unlocking the Potential of Climate and Health Data’ on May 16, 2023
This discussion was part of a series of events marking the launch of the India Climate and Health Data Capacity Accelerator. Attendees highlighted topics and priority themes such as participatory data science, cross-sectoral collaboration, human-centered data systems, and amplifying impact through use cases and champions. The discussions unveiled several priorities and opportunities for driving positive change through data-driven initiatives in the social sector.
To learn more about the roundtable including the key ideas and opportunities discussed and the names of the attendee organizations, please click here.
- Press Release, September 21 2022: Wellcome Awards $6.8 Million to Build Data Workforce for Climate and Health
- Press Release, May 15 2023: India Accelerator Launch and University Selection Announcement
- The Hindu, May 15 2023: Program launched to train 1 million Indians in climate and health data work
- Devex, May 17 2023: The power of data in addressing health impacts of climate change