Wilson Center’s Science & Technology Innovation Program

Dear Colleagues and Friends of Commons Lab

In News and Events on September 15, 2014 at 9:50 am

Dear Colleagues and Friends of Commons Lab,

As many of you know, Lea Shanley has left the Wilson Center to begin a new position. She helped build Commons Lab to where it is today and we want to ensure the continued success of this work, which is supported by the Alfred P. Sloan foundation.

Commons Lab is an important part of the portfolio of the Wilson Center’s Science and Technology Innovation Program, so I will be taking over as interim director for the next 4-6 months as we work through existing projects and explore new directions.

Elizabeth Tyson, whom many of you know, will remain and take on a role as New Projects/Technology Scout. At the beginning of November, Anne Bowser will return from her stay at Microsoft Research and assume a part-time position as Researcher, Data Science and Visualization.

Stay tuned and stay engaged with us. We want to hear from you regarding what we are doing, how we are doing, and where we need to go. Please feel free to contact me directly with ideas.


Dave Rejeski

UN Big Data Climate Challenge Winners

In Citizen Science, Commons Lab, Governance, Uncategorized on September 11, 2014 at 12:10 pm


What happens when you bring together the forces of innovation, big data and climate change?  The following amazing winners of the United Nations “Big Data Climate Challenge.”  As the barriers to access big data drop the ability for innovation increases and the results are incredible.

“The Big Data Climate Challenge is a global competition hosted by United Nations Global Pulse, an initiative of the Secretary-General on big data. The Challenge was launched in May 2014 to unearth fresh evidence of the economic dimensions of climate change around the world using data and analytics. Submissions were received from 40 countries, representing more than 20 topics from forestry, biodiversity and transportation to renewable energy and green data centers.

Two overall Big Data Climate Challenge winners and seven “Projects to Watch” were selected by a high-level Advisory Board and Technical Committee of global experts in climate science, sustainable development and big data. Submissions were evaluated on their use of big data, economic relevance, stakeholder engagement, originality and scalability. The “Projects to Watch” were chosen to highlight particularly innovative uses of big data in emerging topics and geographic regions.”

New Paper on Liability of Citizen Science Data

In Uncategorized on September 8, 2014 at 12:00 am
by Bailey Smith, JD
Published September 5, 20145
New ways to gather data are on the rise. One of these ways is through citizen science. According to a new paper by Bailey Smith, JD, federal agencies can feel confident about using citizen science for a few reasons. First, the legal system provides significant protection from liability through the Federal Torts Claim Act (FTCA) and Administrative Procedures Act (APA). Second, training and technological innovation has made it easier for the non-scientist to collect high quality data.
Download the PDF here.
Disclaimer: This is a working paper to be submitted for peer review. This report should not be construed as legal advice. Groups should consult with counsel prior to adopting any of the strategies identified in this report.




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