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Data Stewards Academy: Data Re-Use in Cities Course Underway

Posted on 13th of June 2023 by Adrienne Schmoeker, Stefaan Verhulst, Sampriti Saxena

Data Stewards Academy: Data Re-Use in Cities Course Underway
Data Stewards Academy: Data Re-Use in Cities Course Underway

In early May, we welcomed our current cohort of twenty data leaders from around the world for the first Data Stewards Academy Executive Education: Data Re-Use in Cities course. 

Data Stewardship Theory

One of the goals of our course is to introduce data stewards the tools they need to develop a data access and re-use strategy to inform public interest decisions and solve societal problems. To date we’ve covered the following subjects: 

  • Foundations of Data for Social Impact
  • Defining Data Stewardship
  • Defining Demand
  • Mapping Supply
  • The Value Proposition


We’re in the midst of Week 6 of the course, digging into “Matching Demand and Supply” with a focus on various data collaborative models, governance frameworks, data-sharing agreements and technology infrastructure. The upcoming  final weeks of the course will cover: 

  • Measuring Impact
  • Institutionalizing Data Re-Use

Data Stewardship in Practice

An important element of the Data Stewards Academy is the opportunity to visit leading organizations to learn from existing data stewards and their diverse approaches to data re-use. Given the course’s focus on urban data ecosystems, this cohort has also had the chance to take “city visits” where they engage with different stakeholders from cities across the world around the many ways in which they’re leveraging data to tackle urban challenges and achieve social good.  

For the first few weeks of the course we’ve had the privilege  to learn from leading experts and practitioners including:

  • Rudi Borrmann, Deputy Director, OGP Local, Open Government Partnership
  • Gretchen Deo & Nicolas Schifano, Intellectual Property Group, Microsoft
  • Data Stewards Academy Alumni Panel: 
    • Jaime Lees, Chief Data Officer, Arlington County Government, USA
    • Malcolm Fraser, Chief Data Steward, The i4 Institute, New Zealand
    • Christine Keung, Former Chief Data Officer for the City of San Jose, USA
    • Nicolas Diaz, Chief Innovation and Data Officer, City of Syracuse 
  • Rachel Wells, Senior Manager, Community Programs, DataKind
  • Amen Ra Mashariki, Director of AI and Data Strategies, Bezos Earth Fund 
  • Shanna Crumley, Director of Impact Data Science, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth 
  • Smita Jain, Manager of Impact Data Science, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth
  • Alex Pompe, Research Manager, Data for Good, Meta
  • Valentin Muresan, Personal Advisor to the Mayor for Digitalization and Smart City, Timișoara Municipality, Romania
  • Jaimie Boyd, Partner, National Digital Government Leader, Deloitte 
  • Alex Hutchison, Director, Data for Children Collaborative
  • Brennan Lake, Vice President, Social Impact, 
  • Bart Rousseau, Program Manager in Geo and Open Data, Digitaal Vlaanderen 

We’re grateful to our guest lecturers for their generosity in sharing their time and insights with us. As we enter the next few weeks, we’re excited to welcome more guest faculty to the course and to learn from their experience in the field. 

Course participants are also tasked with assignments focused on furthering a data re-use strategy for their workplace and on fostering discussion across the cohort. 

Embracing Peer-to-Peer Learning

Last but not least, we’d like to take a moment to celebrate our wonderful cohort! From sharing different tools and insights from their diverse contexts to working together to understand different approaches to solving public challenges, the group has truly embraced the spirit of peer-to-peer learning with open arms. 

The cohort brings a wealth of knowledge to the table and their willingness to engage has helped us all learn a lot. We’ve had the opportunity to explore the unique challenges of  implementing open data policies in the Philippines and South Africa, to learn about how French and Argentinian governments approach open judicial data, to see how national laws and frameworks play out on the local stage in Mexico, India and Brazil, and much more. 

As we look ahead to the weeks to come, we are looking forward to building on these conversations and exploring new aspects of data stewardship with the cohort. The course will culminate in a final presentation of each participant’s data re-use strategy in July, and we are excited to see how the lessons from the course intersect with their real-world use cases. 


To learn more about the course (or to follow along) see the self-directed resource available publicly on the Open Data Policy Lab website

If you are interested in learning more about these opportunities, be sure to sign up for the Data Stewards Network Newsletter where you can learn more about the Academy’s future course offerings and receive alerts when applications for additional cohorts open in the future. 

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