Announces its New Executive Director, Danil Mikhailov


A leader in Data Science for Social Impact, Danil will lead’s vision to shape the social impact field.

The team expands today, welcoming our new Executive Director, Danil Mikhailov, effective January 8, 2021!

Danil comes to with over twenty years of experience setting up multiple start-ups and leading work across a range of diverse sectors: publishing, education, culture, heritage, health, science, and policy, always investigating and innovating in the space where technology, culture, and society converge. With Danil, gains the vision, talent, and experience of one of the world’s leading experts in the emerging field of data science for social impact. 

“I have always had a focus on social impact, in the development of any technology tools or platforms I have worked on.” -says Danil- “It has informed how I, and the teams I have led, approach our work: thinking about both the opportunities and consequences of what we produce, going beyond short-term goal fulfillment, towards longer-term societal value.”

In sharing his vision, Danil stressed how “advances in data science create opportunities to better serve our societies both at scale and locally, enabling and empowering communities in their work. The COVID19 pandemic is an example of a crisis that exposed and exacerbated long-standing structural issues across the globe. We face a number of interconnected crises simultaneously, from climate change to the fight for racial justice, to the growing gap in economic opportunities within countries and between them. There is a great need to marshal the best minds, including in data and technology, to help support communities and rebuild structures that are better and fairer than before. I am excited by the opportunity this role in offers to help in this effort.”

Danil’s collaborative and interdisciplinary approach will be a great asset to as we continue to unlock the power of data and data science to solve the most urgent and pressing issues of today. – says Ginger Zielinskie, Interim Executive Director –  His passion to serve, coupled with his demonstrated experience of using data to improve the lives of people and communities across the globe is an exciting and welcome addition to the team.”

“We founded to bring the power of data analytics to solving social problems, such as where and why certain communities lack access to basic resources,” said Dr. Rajiv Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation.  “Danil’s experience in building partnerships, leading world-class data science teams, and building analytical platforms whose main focus is social impact is exactly what we need to build into an invaluable tool in the fight to create a more inclusive global recovery from the pandemic.”

“We co-founded as part of our commitment to building the field of data science for social impact,” said Mike Froman, vice chairman of Mastercard. “We share Danil’s vision of using data driven insights to improve the lives of vulnerable people and rebuild more inclusive and sustainable communities. Now more than ever, we must make sure that the digital economy becomes inclusive and not divisive.”

Prior to, Danil was at The Wellcome Trust, where he founded and directed the  Wellcome Data Labs, an interdisciplinary team of data scientists, software developers, and social scientists, creating open-source data tools supporting Wellcome’s mission. In this role, Danil has led work across Wellcome to enable faster sharing of data from COVID19 therapeutic trials, set up a major platform to enable funding organizations and philanthropies to securely share and analyze sensitive grant data, and co-created a major new funding program focussed on supporting open-source data science tools and products.

Before joining The Wellcome Trust, Danil founded and chaired the Digital Strategy Forum for Science, Art, and Culture, in the UK. During his earlier career, he also directed the New Media program at English Heritage, co-founded and ran digital publishing and cultural tourism startups in China, and worked in technology consultancy in the private and public sectors across Europe.

Danil holds a Ph.D. in Sociology and Communications from the University of Brunel, an MA in Philosophy, from Birkbeck, University of London, an MA in Chinese Studies, from SOAS, University of London, and a BSc in IT & Business Management, University of York. His academic area of interest has over the years shifted from cultural anthropology, where he spent a decade researching traditional cultural practices across different regions of China, to the application of sociological and anthropological methods in technology. His research activities currently focus on creating new interdisciplinary methodologies to embed ethical and social impact thinking in digital and data products.

He is the co-founder of the Research on Research Institute and a trustee and member of the Board at 360Giving.

For Press Inquiries, please contact Director of Communications, Costanza Sciubba Caniglia at

About is a platform for partnerships to build the field of data science for social impact, working with organizations from all over the world to increase the use of data science to improve the lives of millions of people and to tackle society’s most significant challenges. For more information and to keep in touch, follow on Twitter @DataDotOrg or visit