Data Science for Social Good

The Data Science Institute (DSI) at UBC, in partnership with the University of Washington eScience Institute, offers the Data Science for Social Good (DSSG) Summer Fellowships—modelled after successful programs at the University of Chicago, Georgia Tech and the eScience Institute. This 14-week summer program is designed to bring together undergraduate students and graduate students from diverse backgrounds with experience in data science, urban research and planning, design thinking and other domains to work on focused, collaborative research projects that have the potential to benefit society.

To apply to the 2018 DSSG Program: Click here.


2017 Projects

BC Tourism Resources Project

Multiple factors make it difficult to present an accurate picture of the supply side of tourism in BC. In addition to the dispersed small businesses that form the majority of the industry, the responsibility for permitting and regulation of the industry is shared among multiple government agencies. Recent alignment of government tools (e.g. BC Data Catalogue, iMap BC, BC Economic Atlas), executive support, and opportunities for applying new data tools in tourism planning form the basis for this project. This project supports the goals described in the provincial tourism strategy Gaining the Edge by facilitating access to timely and accurate data about the facilities, infrastructure, and resources that form the foundation of the tourism industry.

Final ReportPoster

Avenues of Change - Early Child Education Project

Guildford West is focused on using data and structure to increase access and improve outcomes (i.e., educational) for children and families. In essence, the overall initiative is about access (increasing it, whether to services, information, or support), quality (improving it, according to evidence), and impact (achieving maximum impact for children and families). The goal is to ultimately improve decision making in the areas of planning, investment and research across the early-years sector and capture the impact we are having on community through the use of data and measurement.

Final ReportPoster

Investment and Intergovernmental Project

The City of Surrey has often been described as a “City of Cities” with each town centre identifying itself as a distinct community. However, the City of Surrey’s Economic Development Division would like to quantify what makes each town centre (e.g., City Centre, Newton, Cloverdale, Campbell Heights, Guildford, and Fleetwood) distinctive and unique based on available datasets. This information will help the Division determine each town centre’s competitiveness as a business cluster as well as identify the best strategy to attract investments into each of them. While some of the data is collected by the City of Surrey, to build a proper model to define factors of competitiveness and distinctiveness, additional sources of information will need to be identified and incorporated in this analysis.

Final ReportPoster

Surrey Transportation Project

The City of Surrey is one of the fastest growing municipalities in Canada with 10,000 new residents added every year which presents significant and exciting opportunities to leverage innovations in data that can inform improvements to the transportation network. This includes new roads, transit routes, multi-use pathways, and other mobility options are being added to and expanded on a monthly basis. Furthermore, the City is well advanced on the conceptual design of BC’s first Light Rail Transit project. Thus, the City is at a critical juncture of transportation planning and is looking at integrating new technologies, new modes of transportation, and data analysis to guide our ongoing development of new neighbourhoods and roll-out of expanded public transit as the City densifies.

Git RepoFinal ReportPoster


2017 Data Science for Social Good Program


Cascadia Urban Analytics Cooperative (CUAC)

eScience Institute, University of Washington

Applied Statistics and Data Science Group (ASDa)

This program is sponsored by Microsoft.

Resources for Students:



For questions about this program, email