Global Challenges and Dynamic Threats - Data and Policy in Global and Comparative Contexts

By Eleonore Fournier-Tombs, Jim Jimeno, Joni Jupesta and Wilson Wong

Data & Policy Blog
Data & Policy Blog
5 min readOct 26, 2023


(Area 6: Call for Contributions, Data for Policy Conference 2024)

With the launch of the Call for Contributions for the Data for Policy Conference 2024, we are utilizing this blog to introduce the main themes and topics of “Area 6: Global Challenges and Dynamic Threats.” Our aim is to encourage submissions to our Area while ensuring a strong alignment between the contributions and our mission and themes. Our Area is dedicated to leveraging data to address global issues and dynamic societal threats, and it emphasizes the reciprocal relationship between data science and policy from a global and comparative perspective. We underscore the importance of integrating data and governance to achieve the ultimate goal of using data for social good and bridging the gap between science and humanism. Besides, we recognize the significance of ‘policy-data interactions’ as a distinct area of study and practice.

One of our main themes centres on addressing global challenges through data-policy interactions. COVID-19 has served as a valuable lesson, demonstrating how a local or regional issue can rapidly and unexpectedly transform into a crisis with enormous global implications. Looking beyond the pandemic, data-driven innovation, particularly when accompanied by the responsible deployment of artificial intelligence (AI), holds tremendous potential in tackling other significant challenges on a global scale that include inequalities and discrimination, sustainability, climate change, and various environmental threats.

Our Area Committee recognizes that these pressing challenges of our time transcend national boundaries and necessitate global collaboration that goes beyond the interests of any single nation. Addressing these complex global threats requires international collaboration, cross-border partnerships, knowledge exchange, and co-creation of solutions among citizens, experts, and policymakers. By harnessing the power of data and advancing data-driven methodologies, our Area 6 is dedicated to driving progress in these critical areas by promoting the policies of responsible and ethical use of data for evidence-based policy decisions and innovative solutions, and fostering collaboration among diverse stakeholders, cutting across national borders and disciplinary boundaries.

The second primary theme of Area 6 is anchored in the local vs. global axis underlying global challenges and dynamic threats. This theme represents the connection and, at times, the tensions between emphasizing collaboration, leveraging collective expertise, resources, and experiences on a global scale, and emphasizing tailored solutions within specific contexts at the local level. Reconciling the conflicts between the two perspectives involves leveraging global interconnectedness and synergies while tailoring solutions to local contexts.

To a significant extent, the application of data technologies in a global setting, representing a wide range of contexts, naturally and inevitably results in a substantial variation of local solutions or outcomes. Explaining what causes those variations with a strong awareness of contextual factors should promote theory development with practical and actionable policy insights. By adopting a comparative perspective within a global context, Area 6 advocates against the use of a one-size-fits-all technological solution in all contexts, as it may be unrealistic or oversimplified. Instead, it emphasizes the importance of understanding the interaction between different contexts, including societal norms, values, and data technologies. This understanding is necessary for adopting solutions that are both technically viable and socially desirable. In the end, what is crucial for success in addressing global challenges and dynamic threats lies in valuing local decision-making and aligning solutions with local circumstances and priorities by balancing local and global perspectives.

In light of the focus of Area 6, below are the topics listed on the website of Data & Policy, the open-access journal at Cambridge University Press that works closely with the Data for Policy Conference:

  • Human existence and the planet;
  • Inequalities and discrimination;
  • Sustainability and environment;
  • Global shocks and resilience;
  • Population health and pandemics;
  • Security, organised crime and hostile environments;
  • International collaboration and local solutions

Apart from those typical areas of global challenges and dynamic threats, we also welcome comparative studies with an interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral scope that examines and compares countries, either among developed and developing nations or between developed and developing countries. Both theoretical and empirical works that adopt qualitative, quantitative, or mixed research methods are encouraged and accepted.

In essence, we are interested in contributions about all major topics of data and policy that match the themes of our Area and address the issues and challenges in global or comparative contexts, which include but are not limited to the following.

  • Digital governance
  • Data governance
  • Data-driven innovation
  • Algorithmic governance
  • Data and collective intelligence
  • Data and collaborative governance
  • E-government and digital transformation
  • AI governance and ethics
  • Generative AI
  • Digital democracy and AI
  • Open data and open government
  • Citizen data and public service delivery
  • Social equity and digital divide
  • Data and Sustainability (including climate change, biodiversity, and environmental pollution)
  • Smart city and trust
  • Social media and public policy
  • ICT applications and technology acceptance
  • Digital and agile transformation

We welcome contributions in the form of abstracts, full papers, and panel proposals on the aforementioned areas and topics for Area 6. The submission deadline is November 27, 2023. To further enhance conference-journal integration, authors can submit their full papers to Data & Policy for the 2024 conference. These papers will be simultaneously reviewed for both conference presentation and journal publication, with peer review milestones aligned to the conference timetable.

Detailed information about the conference and submission is available on the conference website at: Contributions on major topics about data and policy that do not adopt global or comparative contexts are still welcome by the Conference but should be submitted to the corresponding regular and special tracks. If you have any questions regarding the call for contributions of Area 6, please feel free to contact Professor Wilson Wong, our Lead Area Editor, at:

Full Area 6 (Focus on Global Challenges & Dynamic Threats) Committee:

Claire Boine is Research Associate at the Artificial and Natural Intelligence Toulouse Institute and also Editor of Area 6, Data & Policy.

Eleonore Fournier-Tombs is Head of Anticipatory Action and Innovation at the UN University — Centre for Policy Research (UNU-CPR), and also Editor of Area 6, Data & Policy.

Charles Hinnant is Director of School of Information, Florida State University, and also Editor of Area 6, Data & Policy.

Jim Jimeno is Vice Consul at Philippine Consulate General in Dubai, and also Editor of Area 6, Data & Policy.

Joni Jupesta is Research Fellow and Academic Associate at the UN University — Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), and also Editor of Area 6, Data & Policy.

Wilson Wong is Associate Professor and Founding Director of Data Science and Policy Studies, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and also Lead Editor of Area 6, Data & Policy.


This is the blog for Data & Policy (, a peer-reviewed open access journal exploring the interface of data science and governance. Read on for five ways to contribute to Data & Policy.



Data & Policy Blog
Data & Policy Blog

Blog for Data & Policy, an open access journal at CUP ( Eds: Zeynep Engin (Turing), Jon Crowcroft (Cambridge) and Stefaan Verhulst (GovLab)