Shaping data systems: shaping DFID’s priorities

Neil Jackson, DFID’s Chief Statistician

FCDO Research
2 min readAug 3, 2018


Neil Jackson, Chief Statistician

We would like your help to shape our data strategy.

The world is changing rapidly, as more people and devices connect to the internet, computer hardware improves, software becomes more sophisticated and internet content grows. This is creating new opportunities for data to improve decision making, increase efficiency and coordinate activities. Organisations that are able to harness the power of data are flourishing. But the pace of change is highly disruptive and many countries are struggling to adapt. Whilst each country has a unique set of challenges, there are a number of common patterns, such as lack of inclusion, skills or regulation. By addressing these challenges, we can shape data systems that work for everyone and realise the Sustainable Development Goals.

DFID’s Data for Development team supports developing countries and the international development community to harness the power of data in a digital world. The D4D team is already working with many different partners, such as the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, PARIS21, the UK Office for National Statistics, Gates Foundation, World Bank, UNSD, IMF and UNESCAP, with this goal in mind.

As the context continues to change in unpredictable ways, we need help in preparing for the next decade. We are very keen to get your views on the most pressing issues and exciting opportunities. The survey - will ask about the problems you think we should focus on, the opportunities that you think exist and the mechanisms to overcome the problems and realise the opportunities.

The survey should take under 15 minutes and we are looking for a wide range of views; not just those of data and digital experts. The survey will be open until Thursday 20th September 2018. The answers you provide are for our internal planning and will not be shared with external parties. However, we will publish a summary of what we have learnt once we have analysed the survey responses.

If you want to follow up with the team please get in touch at

To keep up to date with all DFID’s research and statistics news as well as funding opportunities please follow us on @DFID_Research and @DFID Stats.

About Neil
Neil has been DFID’s Chief Statistician for over 5 years, leading DFID’s statistics cadre of over 60 advisers across UK Headquarter and country offices. He is responsible for helping DFID make effective use of data for decision-making and collaborates with partners to address the urgent need for quality, disaggregated data to realise the SDGs and leave no one behind. Neil’s career spans 30 years working for the UK government and has worked for the UK’s Office for Statistics Regulation, the UK Department for Transport and in the Scottish Government.



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Research, science and technology news funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office #UKAid (Before 2nd Sept 2020 blogs published by DFID).