3
$\begingroup$

Undergraduate researcher here. I worked at many traditional scientific research labs, ranging from cancer biology, to radiation medicine, and to supercapacitors. I'm thinking of switching to Statistics and Computer Science from Computational Biology to join the exciting field of Data Science.

What ways can I contribute to Humanity without a technical background in basic science? I don't know how I will feel about making better clickbaits. I've thought about continuing in scientific research but I will lack the science background. I've thought about working for the United Nations. What other ways can I contribute? Inspire me!

| improve this question | | | | |
$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You could begin your hunt with DataKind. $\endgroup$ – Sidhha Apr 21 '15 at 8:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You can search for inspirations by browsing the projects carried out within Data Science for Social Good initiative. $\endgroup$ – Wojciech Walczak Apr 21 '15 at 15:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ So are you currently doing a degree in Comp Biol? How far into it? When did you work at all these research labs? Can we see your CV? $\endgroup$ – Spacedman Apr 22 '15 at 15:54
2
$\begingroup$

Since I have already answered a similar question on Data Science StackExchange site, plus some related ones, I will mention all of them here and let you decide, if you find them helpful:

| improve this answer | | | | |
$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

There are almost too many possible uses for data science in the nonprofit sector to count. You might want to look at the question from the other way around--find a cause that interests you and see how data science would apply.

For example:

Disaster relief efforts need better modeling and forecasting in everything from anticipating possible disasters to optimizing relief efforts. How can we identify the population most at risk from natural or human-created disasters, what are the most effective ways to mitigate the risks, and during a disaster, what are the most effective ways to deliver relief?

In education, what methods work best? In a country or region with low female literacy, what would be the economic impact of increasing female literacy by a certain percentage?

For poverty relief, based on a particular area's demographics and economy, what is the most affordable way to reduce poverty? How could a funding organization recognize sooner whether an ongoing project is likely to succeed or fail?

Or if you're interested as much or more in the human aspects, you could look at ways for communities or countries to build reliable data banks, getting all of the government, nonprofit, educational, and other organizations to share and use data effectively.

I hope this helps!

| improve this answer | | | | |
$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

I'll offer a slightly different perspective.

While you can help many needy humans -- e.g. individual refugees, poor people, sick people, war-torn people -- to help humanity it's necessary to address root causes: i.e. why are there so many refugees, persistent poverty, persistent (preventable) illness, and chronic violence. The root causes of so many of these are in the domain of the social sciences.

So far, data science has only contributed to root cause analysis when it operates within a solid research program, integrating with other types of research and findings. (This research may or may not take place in an academic environment, or maybe in a mixture of environments.) It also places premium value on domain knowledge on the part of the data scientists involved.

A related theme is to empower "change agents" (a.k.a. social entrepreneurs) with data science and related services. Nearly all of them are under-resourced and often face severe or menacing opposition. To do this, you will need to make partnerships with some of them to understand their needs and their world.

| improve this answer | | | | |
$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.