The Government of Odisha has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the University of Chicago Trust, India, to set up a Data, Policy, and Innovation Centre (DPIC) that will enable rigorous, evidence-based governance while using new advances in econometrics, data science, and machine learning. The scope of this programmatic partnership will involve researchers from the University of Chicago to provide data analysis and evaluation assistance to the Government of Odisha schemes and policies to benefit the state districts and blocks. The MoU was signed in Bhubaneshwar on 7th January 2023 in the presence of The MoU was signed in the presence of Hon’ble Minister of IT & Sports Shri Tusharkanti Behera, Odisha Computer Application Centre (OCAC) CEO Shri Manoj Kumar Pattnaik, STPI Director Shri Manas Panda, Dr. Leni Chaudhuri, Executive Director of University of Chicago Center in India and senior officials at the OCAC office in Bhubaneswar.
Talking about the collaboration, Mr. Manoj Kumar Pattnaik, CEO-OCAC said, “We are excited to work with the researchers at EPIC India and help lead Odisha to become a leading data center hub. Using evidence-backed research, we hope the DPIC will act as a center of excellence for collecting “big data” from many sources, analyzing that data using contemporary econometric and statistical models, and producing the necessary creative policy guides.”
Under this partnership, researchers from the University of Chicago will aid the Government of Odisha in conducting research, monitoring, impact evaluation, and project implementation in the energy and environment, health, education, agriculture, and water & sanitation sectors. Along with that, the partnership will also entail the capacity development of personnel and institutions for creating a hub for modern data analysis and knowledge sharing.
Outlining the different contours of DPIC with its technical and application possibilities, Dr. Anant Sudarshan, Senior Fellow at the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, said, “To enable rigorous, evidence-based governance under the program, we have outlined a three-pronged strategy that would include creating a hub for modern data analysis, field pilots using randomized control trials and training and capacity building.” Dr. Sudarshan is also a technical research advisor for this project.
Talking about the collaboration, Dr. Leni Chaudhari, Executive Director of the University of Chicago Center in India, said, “We have previously joined Government of Odisha in rolling out the groundbreaking Star Rating Program for industries, and we are looking forward to this new partnership that will help source big data efficiently and design innovative energy and environment solutions. We aim to bring our expertise in applied research on innovative policy ideas to develop mechanisms that facilitate increased energy access and reduced health and environmental problems.”
The creation of this hub for modern data analysis in Odisha is a pioneering step in using data to advance innovations and drive policy decisions.