Wellcome and The Rockefeller Foundation fund new data.org initiative, Epiverse, Analyzing Emergence and Spread of Pandemics

data.org to lead global, distributed pandemic analysis with a privacy-preserving approach

New York | September 14, 2021 Today, data.org is announcing funding from Wellcome and The Rockefeller Foundation’s pandemic prevention institute for Epiverse, a new initiative enabling distributed data analysis to power pandemic response. Working with teams around the world, Epiverse will create an open digital infrastructure and software tools enabling privacy-preserving analysis of data, including health data, privately available health systems data, and commercial data for pandemic response. This analysis of non-traditional data will create new, actionable insights into the emergence and spread of pandemics – insights that can also be applied to other social challenges. 

The UK government under its G7 Presidency has invited data.org to lead this work in response to the call from the Science Academies of G7 nations (the S7) to ensure safe access to and use of data for health emergencies, and to June’s launch of the 100 Days Mission to respond to Future Pandemic Threats.

data.org’s Epiverse will develop its transformative programs in close alignment with other members of the newly-formed Global Pandemic Data Alliance comprising I-DAIR, the Royal Society, and The Trinity Challenge. Together, these organizations are working to meet the challenge set out by the S7 to improve safe data access and use for health emergencies.

“Over the course of this pandemic, we’re witnessing how data science plays a critical role in informing public health decision-making all around the world. As we look to improve pandemic preparedness, it is clear that we need to strengthen health data systems to underpin a rapid and adaptive global response required to protect communities globally,” said Dr. Jeremy Farrar, Director of Wellcome. “This partnership is an exciting example of the innovative approaches needed. It will bring together expertise ensuring advances are designed to be open for global benefit, helping us end future epidemics quickly and effectively.

“To get ahead of Covid-19 and detect and prevent the next pandemic, we have to work with data differently—combining different data types, creating cutting-edge analytics, and building the systems that support trust, and drive swift, effective action. The Rockefeller Foundation’s pandemic prevention institute is mission-driven to identify solutions. Our initiative with data.org will help shape a safer future for us all,” said Dr. Rick Bright, Senior Vice President of Pandemic Prevention and Response at The Rockefeller Foundation.

While the initial focus is on mitigating Covid-19 and detection and prevention of future pandemics, the consortium will be a public good with the broader aim of transforming the distributed analytics commons. The infrastructure built for pandemic response will fuel a variety of use cases across the social impact sector.

“The ability to analyze health data alongside commercial data in a way that preserves privacy but informs better epidemiological models will provide a greater level of visibility and actionable insights to fight this pandemic – and can help us prevent the next one,” said Danil Mikhailov, Executive Director of data.org “Moreover, unlocking data through privacy-preserving distributed approaches has potential far beyond epidemiology, and will be a vital tool advancing the use of data science for social impact.”

About data.org:
data.org is committed to democratizing data, for good. Founded by The Rockefeller Foundation and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, data.org is a platform for partnerships, and works with organizations all over the world to increase the use of data science to tackle society’s most pressing challenges and improve the lives of millions of people. For more information, visit data.org and follow us on Twitter @datadotorg.

About The Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation is a pioneering philanthropy built on collaborative partnerships at the frontiers of science, technology, and innovation to enable individuals, families, and communities to flourish. We work to promote the well-being of humanity and make opportunity universal. Our focus is on scaling renewable energy for all, stimulating economic mobility, and ensuring equitable access to healthy and nutritious food. For more information, sign up for our newsletter at rockefellerfoundation.org and follow us on Twitter @RockefellerFdn.

About Wellcome
Wellcome supports science to solve the urgent health challenges facing everyone. We support discovery research into life, health and wellbeing, and we’re taking on three worldwide health challenges: mental health, global heating and infectious diseases.

Media contact:

data.org: Erica Lopez elopez@we-worldwide.com
The Rockefeller Foundation: Ashley Chang achang@rockfound.org
Wellcome: Aidan Warner A.Warner@wellcome.org