Like others in the statistics and STEM community, the RSS wants the next government to make full use of evidence and data in its decision making, in line with the 10 areas outlined in our Data Manifesto. But how do the party’s own manifestos stack up in this area?
The rise of data science and the progress of computer technology has inevitably forced statisticians to reflect on how they interact with these new fields of endeavour. But this relationship remains in a state of flux as both disciplines attempt to discover how they can complement each other. The RSS has been keen to promote dialogue between statisticians and data scientists and in this spirit an event debating this relationship was held at Errol Street earlier this month.
Following the financial crisis in 2008, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Financial Stability Board (FSB) were tasked with filling the data and statistical gaps that were perceived to be missing in hindsight. The initiative is now five years old and the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation recently held a roundtable event in London to assess what has been achieved and what obstacles are still to be overcome in gathering information on how the global economy works.
There has been a lot of talk about evidence-based policy during the recent General Election campaign; not least by the RSS itself, which is asking candidates to agree to attend statistics training if elected on 7 May.
For some time now the RSS has been highlighting how valuable patient health data is to making medical breakthroughs. While the danger to individual privacy is a genuine public concern, the benefit to advancing medical science is also a real prospect. Convincing advocates of both principles to appreciate the position of the other is going to be vital as the debate rolls forward.