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ISC and its partners organised the 9th edition of the Science Summit around the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA78) on 12-29 September 2023.
The role and contribution of science to attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be the central theme of the Summit. The objective is to develop and launch science collaborations to demonstrate global science mechanisms and activities to support the attainment of the UN SDGs, Agenda 2030 and Local2030. The meeting will also prepare input for the United Nations Summit of the Future, which will take place during UNGA79 beginning on 12 September 2024.
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Monday, September 18 • 6:30am - 9:00am
[VIRTUAL] Citizen Science for Digital Health and AI Research (180601)

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Introduction and aims

Citizen science is defined as a practice of public participation, collaboration and co-creation in all aspects of scientific research to develop knowledge and policies to address public health challenges. By empowering communities, we build trust between communities, researchers and policymakers, a key ingredient in getting concerted responses to public health challenges. We also encourage citizens to take ownership of these challenges by acknowledging the health issues in their personal contexts. In particular, such a participatory approach is essential to ensure that human agency is preserved in the research and development of digital technologies and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for health.
Emerging digital technologies also present interesting solutions for citizens to participate in research, but they have yet to be effectively used to create an enabling environment for citizen science to be established in our societies. We note that there are systemic barriers and socio-economic inequities to consider when implementing digitally-enabled citizen science approaches to avoid widening the existing digital divide and health disparities. This session on ‘Citizen Science for Digital Health and AI Research’ aims to explore how citizen science for digital health and AI research can be established and sustained, as well as how existing technologies can enable engagement.

The International Digital Health & AI Research Collaborative (I-DAIR) and its global academic partners, namely United Nations University Institute in Macau (China), Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil), African Population and Health Research Center (Kenya), Oxford University Clinical Research Unit (Vietnam), Dr. Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College (India) and Makerere University Centre for Health and Population Research (Uganda); and civil society partners, namely eBASE Africa (Cameroon), Zimbabwe National Network of PLHIV+ (Zimbabwe), Wireless Access for Health (The Philippines), Climate Institute (Indonesia), RD Foundation (Nepal), Rural Development Academy (Bangladesh) and Amref Health Africa (Kenya); are proposing a session to explore how citizen science can contribute to more inclusive and collaborative research for digital health and AI for health, as well as the type of infrastructure and technologies needed to create an enabling environment for citizens to participate sustainably. By fostering active public participation in health research, we build stronger partnerships between scientists, citizens and policymakers, which can contribute towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3 and 17, ensuring healthy lives and well-being for all.

The 2.5-hr session will consist of a keynote (15 mins), followed by two panel discussions, and a closing remark (15 mins). Each panel discussion (25 mins) will be preceded by a presentation on the topic of interest (15 mins) and followed by an interactive question-and-answer session (20 mins). The opening keynote will lay the foundation for the session by highlighting the role of citizens in health promotion and disease prevention, with a particular focus on their potential for digital health and AI research.

The first panel will explore how to establish citizen science for digital health and AI research. A presentation preceding the panel discussion will showcase a mixed-method study conducted by I-DAIR and partners assessing citizens’ opinions about the application of the citizen science approach and the use of digital enablers. This study was conducted in Bangladesh, Cameroon, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nepal, The Philippines, Uganda and Zimbabwe. The panel discussion will subsequently examine the: i) contribution of citizen science to the achievement of SDGs; ii) roles of academic, philanthropic, civil society and international organizations in promoting the citizen science methodology in digital health and AI research projects; and iii) type of infrastructure and capacity development needed to provide the enabling environment for active and sustainable citizen participation.

Finally, the second panel will examine the use of existing digital technologies to enable the engagement of citizens. I-DAIR and partners are developing participatory approaches allowing citizens’ active participation to go beyond data collection and extend into modelling and collaborative policy development. The second presentation will showcase the use of participatory modelling approaches in building agent-based models for disease outbreak management in Brazil, Vietnam and Kenya. The panel discussion will further examine the: i) use of digital tools to scale up and sustain participatory activities online; ii) use of generative AI, with a focus on large language models, to support these activities; and iii) the need for transdisciplinary research to advance the citizen science approach.

avatar for Tariro Kutadza

Tariro Kutadza

Tariro Kutadza, a Zimbabwean HIV/TB advocate, is actively working to improve the HIV and AIDS response in Southern Africa. She represents civil society organizations and those affected by HIV, TB, and COVID-19 in various health committees. Tariro has contributed to HIV/TB advocacy... Read More →
avatar for Serge Stinckwich

Serge Stinckwich

Head of Research, UNU-Macau
Dr. Serge Stinckwich is a computer scientist and the Head of Research at the United Nations University Institute in Macau, a UN think tank taking a human-centred lens to look at how we can amplify the positive contributions of digital technologies for sustainable development and mitigate... Read More →
avatar for Peiling Yap

Peiling Yap

Chief Scientist, I-DAIR
Trained as an epidemiologist, Dr. Yap is working with I-DAIR’s partners across the world on research topics such as pandemic preparedness and response, anti-microbial resistance, and maternal and child health. Her recent research focuses on using mixed methodology in implementing... Read More →
avatar for Haidee Bell

Haidee Bell

Lead, Community Engagement, Wellcome Trust
Across the global health priorities of Wellcome Trust, I lead a team focused on putting communities most impacted by urgent global health challenges at the heart of what we do. The community engagement we support sets out to involve communities meaningfully in Wellcome’s work to... Read More →
avatar for Ricardo Baptistia Leite

Ricardo Baptistia Leite

CEO, I-DAIR, The International Digital Health & Artificial Intelligence Research Collaborative
Dr. Ricardo Baptista Leite, MD CEO of IDAIR – The International Digital Health and Artificial Intelligence Research Collaborative, based in Geneva.Founder & President of ‘UNITE Parliamentarians Network for Global Health’, a network of current and former members of parliaments... Read More →
avatar for Dilek Fraisl

Dilek Fraisl

Research Scholar, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
I am a Research Scholar in the Novel Data Ecosystems for Sustainability (NODES) Research Group of the IIASA Advancing Systems Analysis Program. I have a PhD in Sustainability Transitions from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU) in Austria, where I studied... Read More →
avatar for Dinesh Kumar

Dinesh Kumar

Professor, Community Medicine, Dr. Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College
Dinesh is a faculty of community medicine at Dr. Rajendra Prasad Government Medical College of Himachal Pradesh, India, and is involved in teaching and training of medical under and post-graduates. He is carrying out research projects in the field of health funded by research bodies... Read More →
avatar for Sylvia Muyingo

Sylvia Muyingo

Associate Research Scientist
She is a Biostatistician at the African Population and Health Research center (APHRC). Prior to joining she worked as a Statistician at the Medical Research Council/London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in Uganda involved in design and analysis of Clinical trials and observational... Read More →
avatar for Oleksandr Zaitsev

Oleksandr Zaitsev

Researcher in Computer Science and Modelling, CIRAD
I am a computer science researcher at Cirad (https://www.cirad.fr/) - The French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development. My research interests include machine learning & human-computer interaction and building tools for agent-based modelling. I am in charge of... Read More →
avatar for Sameer Pujari

Sameer Pujari

Title : Lead for Ai and Frontier digital ecosystems at WHOhe led the development and negotiations with 194 countries on the WHO Global Strategy on Digital health and is currently leading all initiatives on Ai for health at the Digital health and innovations department of WHO , he... Read More →
avatar for Mamello Thinyane

Mamello Thinyane

Optus Chair of Cybersecurity and Data Science | Associate Professor, University of South Australia
Mamello is the Optus Chair of Cybersecurity and Data Science and an Associate Professor in the STEM unit at the University of South Australia.Mamello is a computer science academic, cross-disciplinary researcher, and information technology professional with an interest in collective... Read More →
avatar for Lidia Arthur Brito

Lidia Arthur Brito

ADG for Natural Sciences at UNESCO
Lidia Arthur Brito was appointed UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences a.i. in June 2023. A forest engineer with a Master’s and Doctorate in Forest and Wood Science from Colorado State University-USA, she was born in Mozambique and has been part of Eduardo Mondlane... Read More →

avatar for Yi-Roe Tan

Yi-Roe Tan

Research Implementation Lead, I-DAIR
Being the Research Implementation Lead of I-DAIR, I lead the planning, implementation, and evaluation of our research projects focusing on digital health and AI in health. Before joining I-DAIR, I worked closely with the Ministry of Health in Singapore on healthcare transformation... Read More →

Monday September 18, 2023 6:30am - 9:00am EDT
  Health, Digital Health