Epiverse, a global collaborative led by data.org, expands pandemic response preparedness to Latin America

New funding from Canada’s International Development Research Centre adds two leading Colombian universities to the effort building the epidemiological data analysis tools of the future

Bogotá, Colombia | March 10, 2022 – Today, Epiverse—a global collaborative of interdisciplinary experts building an open-source software ecosystem—announced two new grantees in Colombia, the Universidad de los Andes (Uniandes) and Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Javeriana). These leading universities join a growing community of data scientists, academics, and technologists who are fundamentally changing how data analytics are used in global infectious disease response.

The addition of Uniandes and Javeriana to Epiverse’s roster of partners is thanks to a $1.5M grant from Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and a testament to Epiverse’s commitment to co-creating data-driven solutions with low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The announcement follows a recent partnership with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the MRC Unit The Gambia, made possible with funding from The Rockefeller Foundation and Wellcome.

“Epiverse’s expansion into Colombia underscores our belief that we cannot accept data science solutions that are parachuted into LMICs from the Global North. This antiquated model excludes the lived experiences of our colleagues in LMICs and creates significant gaps in our software ecosystem,” said Dr. Danil Mikhailov, Executive Director of data.org.

In conjunction with existing Epiverse efforts with the MRC Unit The Gambia, the program in Latin America will work to build open-source, accessible data analysis tools to improve infectious disease response.

“We need solutions built on the knowledge and capabilities of those most at-risk of bearing the burden of inequities in global health,” said Dr. Catalina Gonzalez Uribe, Director of Internationalization at the Vice Presidency of Research and Creation and Associate Professor at the School of Medicine, Uniandes.

Uniandes and Javeriana will also develop virtual and in-person training materials for data analytics to strengthen regional capacities. For the growing team behind Epiverse, forging a diverse and inclusive community of software contributors and users is essential.

“By leading an effort to develop software within Colombia, we are not only contributing to global efforts, but we are building capacity in our own backyard and showcasing our expertise on a global stage,” added Dr. Zulma M Cucunubá, Assistant Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Javeriana.

The grant from IDRC is part of their ongoing investment in projects that promote global health, climate-resilient food systems, education and science, democratic and inclusive governance, and sustainable and inclusive economies in developing countries.

“It is important to IDRC that we support programs that not only innovate but are truly inclusive of the global community. We are thrilled to be able to play a role in bringing Epiverse into Latin America by way of these efforts in Colombia and look forward to seeing the impact of data-driven insights in the region,” said Dr. Jean Lebel, President, IDRC.

About Epiverse

Epiverse is a global collaborative led by data.org developing distributed data analysis tools as a transformative public good. Through its partner network of interdisciplinary experts, Epiverse is co-creating a trustworthy, open-source software ecosystem to power pandemic preparedness and, in the future, address a broad range of health and social challenges. 

About data.org

data.org is committed to democratizing data for good. Founded by The Rockefeller Foundation and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, data.org is a platform for partnerships, and works with organizations all over the world to increase the use of data science to tackle society’s most pressing challenges and improve the lives of millions of people. For more information, visit data.org and follow us on Twitter @datadotorg.

About Universidad de los Andes (Uniandes)

Uniandes is a leading institution and a reference in higher education in Latin America. It currently ranks fourth in Latin America in the 2020 ranking of the QS Latin American University Ranking, which is a recognition of its academic and international standing. As part of its social responsibility, the university has different financial support programs to contribute to inclusive and equitable access to high-quality education. The university also dedicates its financial and human resources to activities that are important for the well-being of the population.

About Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Javeriana)

Javeriana is one of the largest and highly ranked universities in Colombia. In 2021-2022, was ranked first in Colombia by the Times Higher Education. Javeriana was the first Colombian university to run an Epidemiology postgraduate programme in the country, since 1994, later enriched with a master’s programme in Biostatistics and a Ph.D. programme in Epidemiology in 2015.

About International Development Research Centre (IDRC)

As part of Canada’s foreign affairs and development efforts, IDRC champions and funds research and innovation within and alongside developing regions to drive global change. IDRC invests in high-quality research in developing countries, shares knowledge with researchers and policymakers for greater uptake and use, and mobilizes its global alliances to build a more sustainable and inclusive world.

Media contacts:

data.org: Erica Lopez elopez@we-worldwide.com

Universidad de los Andes: Lina Rodriguez: lm.rodriguez648@uniandes.edu.co

Pontificia Universidad Javeriana: Adriana Díaz adrianadiaz@javeriana.edu.co

IDRC: Steven Morris smorris@idrc.ca