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Emergent Alliance – a powerful data alliance to aid economic recovery after COVID-19

The Emergent Alliance is a not-for-profit collaboration of large organisations, small businesses, institutes and individuals who share knowledge, data and skills to inform decision making on regional and global economic challenges related to COVID-19.

LIDA worked alongside consortium-leader Rolls-Royce to develop the concept and is one of a small group of founding members, alongside IBM, Microsoft, Google Cloud and others.  As the lead academic institution within the Alliance, LIDA provides members with secure infrastructure, scientific expertise and access to global academic research networks.

Since it was launched in April 2020, the Emergent Alliance has grown to include over 170 organisations and its combined ecosystem has the resources and power to solve some of the biggest challenges facing us in a post COVID-19 world.

Activities within the Alliance are structured around a series of Challenge Statements, which articulate the social and economic problems to be addressed. These challenges are embedded in themes which consider future demand for products and services, labour markets and skills, and local and global responses in the coordination of recovery.

A successful outcome from one of these challenges would include an enriched understanding of a phenomenon. For example, what insights does public transport use during the pandemic yield for policy makers – how might the reconfiguration of social distancing rules in a railway carriage permit increased ridership and therefore boost recovery?

Professor Mark Birkin comments on one of the challenges, “If we are to regenerate the economy, we need to get airlines and railways moving but it needs to be on a sustainable path. The team are working with rail companies to chart a path towards normality. Finding the sustainable balance between market dynamics and health issues which allow railways to operate safely, is the key aim”.

Whilst the Emergent Alliance currently focuses on the recovery from Covid-19, its cross-industry collaboration model and practices for data sharing could be applied to any number of pre-existing societal challenges.

The outputs from the alliance are intended to help understand economic implications and aid recovery, to provide insight beyond what is currently known.

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