Big Data

Using large datasets to model successful interventions.
Meet the Scientists

Big Data explained

The Big Data team is forming collaborative research partnerships with experts from across our challenge and other challenges and institutions to build a collaborative framework to articulate and answer research questions of significant importance to New Zealand and to the wider academic and policy communities.

What we are doing

  • The team has a wide range of expertise in the use of the Integrated Data Infrastructure.
  • Consulting with Māori and Pacific stakeholders to develop guidelines for using big data in a way that is appropriate for these communities.
  • A paper has been published in an international journal showing a decline in obesity in NZ 4-year-olds.

Team Snapshot

Dr Rick Audas

Dr Rick Audas

Theme leader

Dr Rick Audas is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Otago, and the Big Data theme leader for A Better Start.

Dr Nichola Shackleton

Dr Nichola Shackleton

Dr Nichola Shackleton is a Research Fellow for the Centre for Methods and Policy Application in the Social Sciences (COMPASS) at the University of Auckland. She is a quantitative social scientist working on multidisciplinary research projects. She uses advanced quantitative methods to analyse survey data, and works with population level data in the Integrated Data Infrastructure. Her research focuses on the interplay between child health and the school environment, inequalities in child health, and measuring and evaluating aspects of the school environment.

Nichola completed her PhD on “Socioeconomic Inequalities in Childhood Excessive Weight in the UK” at the UCL Institute of Education (London) in 2014. She worked with the Adolescent Health Research team at the UCL Institute of Child Health (London) until September 2015. She is currently an Honorary Research fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and an associate investigator at the National Centre for Life Course Research.

Justine Camp

Justine Camp

Research Fellow, Big Data

I kā tini waka o te motu, ka mihi mai I tēnei uri nō Te Waka o Aoraki
Ki kā kairakahau e whakanui ana e whakapiki ake te hauora o kā tamariki, mokopuna o Aotearoa nei, tēnei te mihi maioha ki a tātou
He waka eke noa

Justine works with Māori communities to ensure their views around the use of Māori data are part of the theme’s everyday thinking. Justine supports Māori led research involving big data, and leads the team in partnering with iwi to support their research aspirations.

Justine is also funded by Brain Research New Zealand and has created a Whānau health compass to provide whanau with the data to track their own health and well-being. She has done research on the impacts of Type II diabetes mellitus on whanau. Previously, Justine was involved with the creation and implementation of a Māori strategic framework at Otago Polytechnic. She is the current iwi representative at the University of Otago Treaty of Waitangi committee, the Ngai Tahu research consultation committee and the Southern District health board iwi governance.


New Zealand 4-year-olds buck obesity trend

New Zealand’s four-year-olds are resisting the tide towards rising obesity, according to research funded by A Better Start, one of the country’s national science challenges.

Partners and Collaborators

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