Data Experts Challenged to Establish Link Between Financial Data and Understanding Society

Business advisory firm Deloitte has invited top data scientists and fintech entrepreneurs from around the country to compete in its 2018 Datathon. The event, ‘financial services for good’, is an intensive 24-hour competition which will focus on how financial data can be used to help address some of the biggest challenges facing society today.

This year’s Datathon will capitalise on the growing availability of consumer data through new regulations including open banking and PSD2. Its objective is to establish a meaningful link between financial services data and trends in other areas that underpin social wellbeing.

Hosted in Deloitte’s Greenhouse facility in Edinburgh, the Datathon will run from mid-day on March 19th to mid-day on March 20th at which point participants will present their concepts to a panel of judges including Kent Mackenzie, director, head of risk analytics & fintech, Deloitte; Loral Quinn, co-founder and CEO, Sustainably; Phil Grady, CEO, Castlight Financial and Bijna K.Dasani, head of business architecture and innovation, Lloyds Banking Group.

The participants, who come from a diverse range of experience and backgrounds, are handpicked by Deloitte from industry, academia and beyond. They will compete to solve challenges and create their novel concepts in a fast-paced environment, testing their ability to analyse data and develop concepts under pressure.

Judges will base their decision on the quality and distinction of the concepts, the use of visualisations, and the feasibility and impact each idea. There will be prizes for the Most Innovative Idea, Deepest Insight from the data, and Overall Winner, including a mentoring session with the CEO from Castlight Financial.

Kent Mackenzie, panellist and director at Deloitte in Edinburgh, said:

“This year, we have seen significant growth in both the size and availability of data due to open banking and PSD2. It has created a real opportunity for analysts to generate new insights and to understand the potential benefits deep data analysis can offer society. Data now has the power to deliver beyond commercial advantages and to have a tangential, positive impact on people’s lives.

“The challenge we are giving to participants of the Datathon is entirely novel as this level of access to data hasn’t been so readily available before. The variety and depth of experience of the participant’s means we are going to be presented with concepts that could potentially be developed further and help solve some real-world problems for people across society as a whole.”

Several leading industry figures will also offer their take on the industry, with speakers including Phil Grady, CEO of Castlight Financial; Nick Sherrard of Market Gravity; Bijna K.Dasani, head of architecture and innovation, Lloyds Banking Group; and Professor Georgios Panos, Glasgow University.

While comparable to hackathons, Datathons are intensive workshops in which researchers turn information into knowledge by querying datasets to extract information related to a specific question or topic, rather than designs apps or software. Deloitte’s Datathon is a fringe event at DataFest18, the festival of data innovation. The week-long festival takes place across Scotland from 19th to 23rd March 2018, with support from the Data Lab.

The Data Lab CEO, Gillian Docherty, said:

“It’s brilliant to be able to extend the DataFest reach to so many sectors, including financial services, allowing us to promote the benefits of data-driven problem solving further than ever before. The sheer number of events taking place showcases Scotland’s place as a burgeoning centre for data on a global scale.

“DataFest18 is all about collaboration. We believe that interaction between different industry sectors and disciplines, academics, data practitioners, students, public sector, and business specialists is a key element towards data driven innovation.”

About The Data Lab

The Data Lab is an innovation centre focused on helping Scottish industry to capitalise on a growing market opportunity in data science. Established with an £11.3 million grant from the Scottish Funding Council, The Data Lab enables industry, public sector and world-class university researchers to innovate and develop new data science capabilities in a collaborative environment. Its core mission is to generate significant economic, social and scientific value from data for Scotland.


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