The Research for Ethical Data Science in Southern Africa (REDSSA) project has the overall aims of producing new knowledge regarding the ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) of conducting data science research to develop evidence-based, context specific guidance for the conduct and governance of data science initiatives such as DS-I Africa, and to strengthen the culture of responsible data science in Southern Africa. The project will be conducted in three phases. Phase 1 is research intensive and will obtain empirical data on key stakeholder views regarding the development of data science guidance to inform governance of DSI-Africa Research Hubs in Southern Africa. This phase will start with conceptual research and normative analysis of the ELSI issues related to data science. In Phase 2, we will develop guidance documents informed by Phase 1 research and by best practices in international data science research guidance, the limited experience and existing literature to date concerning data science research and governance of data management in Southern Africa. In Phase 3, we aim to amplify the impact and enhance the sustainability of our research and governance activities by creating ELSI networks and communication channels focusing on data science in Southern Africa. This will involve establishing an ELSI Data Science Southern African Network (EDSSAN) to respond to evolving ELSI concerns in DS-I Africa Research Hubs beyond the funding period, hosting annual conferences, and leveraging existing local networks.
This is a U01 grant in response to the NIH funding opportunity RFA-RM-20-017: Harnessing Data Science for Health Discovery and Innovation in Africa (DS-I Africa): Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications Research. The purpose of the funding opportunity is to support research on the Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications (ELSI) associated with a new program entitled Harnessing Data Science for Health Discovery and Innovation in Africa (DS-I Africa). The goal of DS-I Africa is to spur new health discoveries and catalyze innovation in healthcare, public health, and health research on the continent through application of data science.