How Can Data Science Best Inform Environmental Policy?

Data science is an interdisciplinary field that uses scientific methods, processes, algorithms, and systems to extract knowledge and insights from structured and unstructured data and apply knowledge and actionable insights from data across a broad range of application domains. The field includes the area of artificial intelligence (AI), methods that enable machines to understand, learn, and make decisions and predictions based on hidden patterns in data. The study of data science integrates knowledge primarily from statistics and computer science, and application domains like environmental science. There are many challenges still facing the field as it finds its footing. One such challenge is the pressing need to de-silo science and government data gathering and modeling to ensure domain-specific expertise is available for optimizing and developing relevant and powerful methods. From the governmental point of view, this connects to the need to accelerate the delivery of evidence-based approaches and tools for fulfilment of mandates and creation of policy.

The International Environmetrics Society (TIES) has held annual conferences since 1990 on topics connected to environmetrics: quantitative methods, monitoring, decision analysis, spatio-temporal models, and so on. One common element in these conferences is the intensive use of data sourced from national science agencies, and members of such agencies (e.g., NOAA, United States; ECCC, Canada; Met Office, United Kingdom) have long been attendees. A one-day free online symposium is being offered as part of the 2021 annual meeting (also online, due to the COVID-19 pandemic) exploring the topic of Data Science and Environmental Data, especially as applied to Policy at a governmental level. 


Chair: Wesley Burr (, Associate Professor of Statistics, Trent University (Canada), TIES Outreach Committee Member
Co-Chair: Nathaniel K. Newlands (, Research Scientist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (Government of Canada); Adjunct Professor in Geography, University of Victoria, Canada, TIES North American Regional Officer

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