Natalia Adler: Building – and Using – Data Collaboratives to Help Children

Aug 21, 2017 4:45 PM ET

Natalia Adler describes herself as a problem-solver, not a data scientist. When she came to work at UNICEF’s New York headquarters after seven years in Nicaragua and Mozambique, she joined the data research and policy division. “I immediately saw that, even though we do all sorts of data work, we were behind on the data science component,” says Adler, now a data, research, and policy manager at UNICEF (The United Nations Children’s Fund). “And if you want to make progress on that front, you need to access to big data – however, most relevant datasets sit with corporations.”

That insight has been the impetus for Adler to work on a project called data collaboratives, which seeks to better understand how private companies can share their data to help the public good. One of her partners in this initiative is Stefaan G. Verhulst, the co-founder and chief research and development officer of The Governance Lab at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, better known as The GovLab. Adler, like Verhulst, is a member of this year’s Program Committee for the Data for Good Exchange, which will take place at Bloomberg headquarters in New York on Sunday, September 24, 2017.

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