Data-Driven Responses to COVID-19: Lessons Learned: OMDDAC Research Compendium

Rachel Allsopp, Claire Bessant, Sneha Dawda, Keith Ditcham, Charlotte Emmett, Matthew Higgs, Ardi Janjeva, Guangquan Li, Selina Sutton, Mark Warner, Marion Oswald*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council under the UKRI COVID-19 Rapid Response call, the Observatory for Monitoring Data-Driven Approaches to COVID-19 (OMDDAC) is a collaboration between Northumbria University and the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). This project has involved a multidisciplinary team of researchers (with expertise in the law on technology, data protection, and medicine as well as practical ethics, computer science, data science, applied statistics in health, technology and security studies and behavioural science) to investigate the legal, ethical, policy and operational
challenges encountered in relation to key data-driven responses to the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the consideration of several priorities in the data and technology space, which are reflected in the UK Government’s present strategies. The National Data Strategy, in particular, pledges to take account of the lessons learned from the COVID-19 response and draw upon
the UK’s values of transparency, accountability and inclusion. Seeking to inform the lessons learned from the pandemic, the project used a mixed-methods research design that included case study analysis, interviews with key stakeholders (individuals with relevant expertise and/or experience in relation to the data-driven pandemic response), representative public surveys, and engagement with young people through a children’s rights charity. OMDDAC has published four snapshot reports focused on data-driven public policy, tech-driven approaches to public health, policing and public safety and key findings from the public perceptions survey. The emerging issues identified in those reports align closely with the four pillars of the National Data Strategy, which form the framework for this final project report:
1. Data Foundations (data quality issues and infrastructure);
2. Data Skills (data literacy of decision-makers);
3. Data Availability (data sharing); and
4. Responsibility (law, ethics, transparency, and public trust).
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages45
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2021


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