Saturday, March 11, 2017

UN Global Pulse and Western Digital Announce ‘Data for Climate Action’ Challenge Now Open for Entries

 Challenge Enables Unprecedented Access to Data and Tools from Leading Companies to Generate New Climate Solutions

NEW YORK -Friday, March 10th 2017 [ ME NewsWire ]

(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Global Pulse, the United Nations innovation initiative on big data, and Western Digital Corporation (NASDAQ: WDC), a global leader in data storage technologies and solutions, announced a partnership today to launch the “Data for Climate Action” challenge.

Data for Climate Action is an unprecedented open innovation challenge to harness data science and big data from the private sector to fight climate change. Data scientists, researchers, and innovators from around the world are encouraged to apply and submit their proposals at by 10 April 2017.

“Driving effective action on climate change requires not only climate data, but also rich information about human behavior,” said Robert Kirkpatrick, Director of UN Global Pulse. “Big data can provide dynamic feedback on how communities affect and are affected by the climate system, and enable innovation to increase sustainability and resilience. This data is primarily held by companies, like those participating in Data for Climate Action.”

With support from the Skoll Global Threats Fund, this global challenge has galvanized a diverse coalition of companies from multiple industries and countries to participate through acts of ‘data philanthropy’. The challenge will offer researchers an opportunity to gain unprecedented access to national, regional, and global datasets—anonymized and aggregated to protect privacy—and robust tools to support their research.

Companies contributing data for the challenge include:

    BBVA Data & Analytics, a financial data analytics company
    Crimson Hexagon, an enterprise social media analytics company
    Earth Networks, a weather and lightning sensor network operator
    Nielsen, a global measurement and analytics company
    Orange, a global telecommunications provider
    Planet, an earth-imaging satellite network operator
    Plume Labs, an environmental data sciences company
    Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management and automation
    Waze, a free, real-time community-based traffic and navigation app

In addition, researchers may apply to receive cloud-computing support from Microsoft, and visual analytics support from Tableau.

“As the world’s largest data storage company, we understand the power and promise of data, and are passionate about its use as a catalyst for change,” said Dave Tang, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Data Center Systems Business Unit, Western Digital. “We are proud to partner with the United Nations Global Pulse team to not only help build the narrative and framework for the Data for Climate Action challenge, but to amplify and drive engagement around the data for social good movement. We look forward to the insights and solutions generated from this challenge and the possibilities they represent for our future.”

About the Challenge:

Data for Climate Action will target three areas relevant to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal on climate action (SDG 13): climate mitigation, climate adaptation, and the linkages between climate change and the broader 2030 Agenda.

The challenge aims to generate original research papers and tools that demonstrate how data-driven innovation can inform on-the-ground solutions and transform efforts to fight climate change. It builds upon the model of data science competitions pioneered by organizations like Kaggle, and company-specific initiatives to share big data for the public good, such as the “Data for Development” challenges hosted by Orange.

Researchers who are selected to participate in Data for Climate Action will have four months to conduct their research. A diverse panel of experts in climate change and data science will evaluate final submissions based on their methodology, relevance, and potential impact. Winners will be announced in November of 2017.

To submit an application or find additional details on the challenge, visit the official website at

To read more about Western Digital Corporation’s support for the data for good movement, visit

Contributing companies:

Elena Alfaro, CEO, BBVA Data & Analytics:
“At BBVA Data & Analytics we believe in the moral obligation of data-driven organizations to share data and contribute to society. In our previous collaboration with UN Global Pulse, we discovered that aggregated financial data can yield insights into how crises affect vulnerable populations. Together we demonstrated a novel method to measure communities’ economic resilience to natural disasters. The Data for Climate Action challenge represents another concrete way to put data to work for climate action, and we look forward to contributing once again, with our aggregated financial data and our excellence in data science."

Jim Pinkelman, Senior Director, Microsoft Research:
“We are proud to be supporting this important global challenge, and we look forward to providing Microsoft Azure to further the work of these innovative researchers.”

Lisa Errion, Vice President for International Public Policy, Nielsen:
"Nielsen is pleased to be part of this innovative challenge as part of our Data for Good initiative to enhance the use of data to advance social good."

Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière, Senior Executive Vice President of Innovation, Marketing and Technologies, Orange:
“We are confident that Data for Climate Action will help foster research on the potential of data to address climate change on a global scale. Orange’s involvement with the challenge is a natural continuation of our open innovation initiatives focused on how big data science can contribute to sustainable development and social welfare. This illustrates our ongoing commitment to facilitate solutions to help address social and environmental issues for the entire global community.”

Will Marshall, CEO and Co-Founder, Planet:
“Addressing climate change will require many actors working with the most powerful tools available. At Planet, we’re contributing to this vision by imaging the whole world, every day, and making change on Earth visible and accessible. We are delighted to collaborate with UN Global Pulse on the Data for Climate Action challenge, and to put the most up-to-date data about our planet into the hands of innovators who can help make progress on one of the most urgent issues of our time."

Romain Lacombe, CEO and Co-Founder, Plume Labs:
“Plume Labs is delighted to be taking part in Data for Climate Action by providing access to the Plume Air Cloud, our atmospheric pollution API. Air pollution is both an environmental and a health crisis. Through open data and innovative solutions we can work together to make the air we breathe more transparent.”

Ron Sznaider, SVP of Cloud Services, Schneider Electric:
"As a global leader in energy management and automation, Schneider Electric is transforming the weather forecasting and agricultural markets by driving innovation that enables farming operations to make critical, real-time decisions. We look forward to providing researchers with access to weather data through Data for Climate Action, so that they can generate new and innovative solutions for farmers and communities around the world.”

Neal Myrick, Director of Social Impact at Tableau & Director, Tableau Foundation:
“This Challenge is a terrific opportunity to bring data visualization skills and insights to the global community of scientists, policymakers, innovators, and advocates fighting for climate action. We’re thrilled to do our part to make that data accessible and actionable for all those working for a better future.”

Adam Fried, Global Partnerships, Waze:
“Using Waze real-time, crowdsourced insights, Waze Connected Citizens Program partners have led data-driven experimentations to solve varied mobility challenges, improving emergency response times and hyperlocal traffic management. We’re excited to see how researchers participating in the Data for Climate Action Challenge can expand upon the impact of the Connected Citizens Program to accelerate climate action.”

About UN Global Pulse
Global Pulse is a UN initiative working to promote awareness of the opportunities big data presents for sustainable development and humanitarian action, forge public-private data sharing partnerships, generate high-impact analytical tools and approaches through its network of Pulse Labs and drive broader adoption of useful innovations across the UN system. Global Pulse is a leading voice in the data philanthropy movement and an advocate for data responsibility. For more information, visit or follow on Twitter @UNGlobalPulse.

About Western Digital Corporation
Western Digital Corporation (NASDAQ: WDC) is an industry-leading provider of storage technologies and solutions that enable people to create, leverage, experience and preserve data. The company addresses ever-changing market needs by providing a full portfolio of compelling, high-quality storage solutions with customer-focused innovation, high efficiency, flexibility and speed. Our products are marketed under the HGST, SanDisk and WD brands to OEMs, distributors, resellers, cloud infrastructure providers and consumers. Learn more about Western Digital’s #DataMakesPossible initiative.

About Skoll Global Threats Fund
The mission of the Skoll Global Threats Fund is to confront global threats imperiling humanity by seeking solutions, strengthening alliances, and spurring the actions needed to safeguard the future. The Fund proactively works to find, initiate, or co-create breakthrough ideas and/or activities that can have large-scale impact. Learn more at


UN Global Pulse
Felicia Vacarelu, 646-723-4810
Porter Novelli for Western Digital Corp.
Lisa Neitzel, 408-738-7884

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