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Innovations in remote sensing, machine learning, and big data analytics allow for more accurate, frequent, and granular insights related to global poverty and inequality.

CEGA Work Theme - Data Science for Development


We are in the midst of what some have called “the fourth industrial revolution,” borne by a sea change in technologies to measure, store, and analyze human information. Satellites ply the sky, taking billions of images of Earth and its inhabitants; mobile phones, crowdsourcing tools, and social media apps generate trillions of bytes of relational data every day; machine learning (ML) algorithms predict everything from our writing styles to which households are most at risk for flooding; wireless sensors measure and report real-time traffic, air pollution, and the sound of trees being felled in protected rainforests.

At scale, these novel data sources offer a significant potential to benefit humankind. This is particularly true in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where public administrators and service providers lack access to high quality socio-economic information on the communities they serve due to logistical and financial constraints. Data-driven research and public policy applications lag far behind their potential to support these actors, both because of technical training and data infrastructure barriers and because of concerns around bias, privacy, and trust.

CEGA works to realize the potential of the Data Science for Development (DS4D) ecosystem by supporting social scientists, engineers, data scientists, regulators, and public administrators to shape institutions capable of leveraging new data and analytical approaches that can address poverty and inequality in LMICs. We do this by funding research studies, hosting annual conferences and workshops, supporting skills development, and compiling technical resources for interested researchers, policymakers, and practitioners. We help resource novel approaches to measuring socio-economic indicators and facilitate sustainable economic development — while also supporting research on the limitations and concerns surrounding this work.



CEGA supports transformative research that leverages innovative data science approaches across a number of sectors:


Driving Impact

CEGA is committed to driving the adoption of cutting-edge methods and data through the development of relevant public resources, protections, and through testing new DS4D tools and approaches. We do this in partnership with global technology companies, telecommunications companies, satellite companies, innovation-minded researchers, and decision-makers. If you are interested in partnering with CEGA to develop, test, or train stakeholders on new DS4D approaches, please contact Sean Luna McAdams.


United States Agency for International Development



Pulte Institute for Global Development

Institute of International Studies

Development Impact Evaluation (DIME), World Bank Group

Development Economics Data Group (DECDG), World Bank Group

New Light Technologies (NLT)

Atlas AI

Scientific Directors


Data Privacy Lab

Privacy enhancing technologies (PETs) can mitigate privacy vulnerabilities, enable the collection and sharing of new types of data, and improve social welfare and foster...

Geospatial Analysis for Development

The Geo4Dev initiative applies geospatial data to target, design, and evaluate social and economic development programs. A collaboration between CEGA, New Light Technologies Inc., and 3IE,  the initiative drives the development of new analytical tools and methods for conducting geospatial analysis across diverse sectors related to poverty and development, including agriculture and food security, urbanization, climate change, humanitarian crisis, and disaster relief.                                                                                     ...

Targeting Aid Better

CEGA’s Targeting Initiative, launched in 2020, facilitates the use of innovative approaches to improve the targeting of social protection programs in LMICs. We prioritize work with government and NGO partners that facilitates rapid delivery of financial resources to the most vulnerable households and small businesses in the wake of COVID-19.                                                                                                                                 ...

Data Science for Development Research

Data Science for DevelopmentTechnologyWork & Education

Using High-Resolution Satellite Data to Evaluate The Impact of New Business

Gordon Hanson | India
Data Science for Development

Detecting Social Networks with Satellite Imagery

Jeremy Magruder | Malawi
Data Science for DevelopmentGlobal NetworksHealth & Psychology

Remote Sensing and Estimation of Household Welfare in South Sudan

Reajul Chowdhury | South Sudan
Data Science for DevelopmentTechnology

High Resolution Development Indicators

Joshua Blumenstock | Afghanistan
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Data Science for Development Resources

Data Science for DevelopmentTechnology

(Machine) Learning What Governments Value

Working Paper   |   Technology
Data Science for DevelopmentFinancial InclusionTechnologyWork & Education

Targeting Development Aid with Machine Learning and Mobile Phone Data

Working Paper   |   Financial Inclusion
Data Science for DevelopmentTechnology

Global Poverty Map

Datasets & Registries & Replications   |   Technology
Health & Psychology

Video: "Diagnosing bias with machine learning" - Ziad Obermeyer (E2A 2019)

Presentations   |   Health & Psychology
Data Science for DevelopmentFinancial InclusionTechnology

Video: Josh Blumenstock | Targeting Anti-Poverty Programs Using Mobile Phone Data

Presentations   |   Financial Inclusion
Data Science for DevelopmentTechnology

Video: Keynote Address - Joshua Blumenstock | MeasureDev2020

Presentations   |   Technology
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