Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Emergent Alliance and what is it for?

The Alliance exists to better inform the economic decision making of corporations, small businesses and nations states. Drawing on a diverse collaboration of corporates, individuals, NGOs and Governments, the Alliance will contribute knowledge, expertise, data, and resources to inform decision making on regional and global economic challenges to aid societal recovery. 

Why has the Alliance chosen to focus on future economic scenarios rather than the immediate healthcare response?  

Members of the Emergent Alliance are helping the direct response to COVID-19 in many ways. It is not a case of ignoring the immediate health care issues but addressing these questions in parallel with social and economic consequences. 

Member initiatives include:  

We want to get people and businesses back to work around the globe. We are combining traditional economic, business, travel and retail data sets with behavioural and sentiment data to provide new insights into – and practical applications to support – the global recovery from Covid-19.   Emergent Alliance models will help identify lead indicators of economic recovery cycles. Businesses small and large around the world, as well as governments, can use these insights to help build the confidence they need to make decisions, such as investments or policy changes that could shorten or limit the recessionary impacts of the pandemic. 

What does this mean for real people? How will your ambition of smoothing and lessening the recessionary impact of COVID-19 be felt by ordinary people?

Emergent Alliance models will help people get back to work and back to economic activity as soon as possible by identifying the very earliest green shoots of economic recovery. 

A significant factor in the speed of any economic recovery from a recession is confidence. Without confidence people don’t book holidays, or decide to invest in significant purchases, or launch new business ideas; without confidence businesses don’t invest in growth activities like hiring new people, developing new products, or expanding into new territories or markets; without seeing the beginnings of economic confidence governments don’t know where to direct stimulus packages to best effect to help the early shoots of recovery thrive. 

Businesses small and large around the world, as well as governments, can use our insights to help build their confidence to make decisions, such as investments or policy changes, that could shorten or limit the recessionary impacts of the pandemic.

Can you tell me about any analysis you’ve already worked on? What are they showing you? How has being in the Alliance helped this activity? 

Early-stage modelling from the Emergent Alliance is already available via our data catalogue on our home page.

They include:  

What can organisations contribute?

Our partners all contribute in different ways. The focus is on data so we need contributions of datasets, data expertise and infrastructure. Beyond that we need help to create engaging challenge statements to capture different industries and markets. We also require expertise in other areas like project management, agile working, business development and legal advice.

What are the steps to join the Emergent Alliance? 

Register your interest on our website with an email address, and we will reach out to you within a few days. We will then aim to discuss what sort of contribution you could make to alliance as well as sharing some more operation details. Once that is all agreed and after some paperwork to sign up to the Alliance, we can introduce you to the rest of the team on our collaboration platform.

Can I volunteer as an individual? 

Absolutely! As the alliance continues to grow our needs evolve as well. We need help with data analysis and running the sprints with a scrum methodology, if you can help with either of these and can contribute more than a few hours a week register your interest and we will be in touch. In the future we hope to engage online communities, check out our GitHub to see how we are doing and you can get involved there as well.

Privacy and Data Privacy

Are you working with personal data? How are you keeping it safe and private?  

It is likely the alliance will work with both personal data and non-personal data.

Where personal data is involved, alliance members will have access to products which will enable the data holder to quantitatively assess the privacy risks that their datasets contain. Data holders will then be able to take appropriate actions to mitigate those risks by de-identifying the data before it is used or released. 

To ensure that privacy isn’t eroded at the expense of research into COVID-19 and to ensure data protection laws are complied with, our partners will act as a trusted 3rd party to apply anonymisation techniques to alliance members’ data and produce anonymized aggregated data assets that can be used by the broader alliance. 

The alliance will ensure that the data is used for the agreed central purpose and protect against the data later being misused, by ensuring that sensitive data is securely deleted once it is no longer needed for the alliance’s use. 

Will you be sharing any personal or specific data with commercial companies or with governments? How will you make sure they don’t misuse it?

We do not share personal data with commercial companies, governments or universities. 

The alliance will likely work with both personal data and non-personal data, but any personal data will be de-identified before it is used or released for use within the alliance (See question 1 for further detail). 

Our data processing is governed by strict international legislation including GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) and by the Data Protection Act 2018 in the UK. We follow best practice guidance of the ICO e.g. in reaction to data aggregation and reidentification. 

Even governments (especially governments!) are bound by the rule of law in access and exploitation of data. 

Where are you getting the data from? What sort of data is it? 

The alliance will combine traditional economic, business, travel and retail data sets with behavioural and sentiment data to provide new insights into – and practical applications to support – the global recovery from COVID-19.

Data will be made available to alliance members in the following ways:  

Emergent Alliance members work to pipeline data from open-data sources. Data owning/controlling members make de-sensitized versions of their proprietary data-sets publicly available to the Emergent Alliance community via our home page. 

Data owning/controlling members who have proprietary data-sets that are too sensitive to share in public – even when de-sensitized – can collaborate with other alliance members (by invitation) in a closed environment. Data-sets may be kept private, but results of analysis and/or models will be published openly.  

All of this work will be done with a sharp focus on privacy and security, using industry best practices for data sharing and robust governance. 

Our data is commercially sensitive, so we wouldn’t want to share publicly – can we still be involved?  

Providing the data for analysis in a closed environment would allow important questions to be addressed in the public interest without compromising the interests of the data owner.  

The outputs and the methodology can be shared openly while retaining the integrity of the constituent data sets. This approach is consistent with established practice in the UK research community, including the Office for National Statistics – the ‘Five Safes’ (safe data, safe projects, safe people, safe settings, safe outputs). 

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