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

  • Analysing big data to support the research of the healthy weight, resilient teens, and successful learning and literacy themes, with a focus on research pertinent to Māori tamariki and Pasifika children  
  • Analysing Plunket well child data to understand drivers and aid prediction of healthy weight, resilient teens, and successful learning and literacy
  • Using simulation techniques to understand the social, health and economic benefits of interventions to improve child outcomes.

Team Snapshot

Associate Professor Barry Milne

Associate Professor Barry Milne

Theme Leader - Barry leads the microsimulation analysis for the Bid Data theme

Barry Milne is Director of the Centre of Methods and Policy Application in the Social Sciences (COMPASS) at the University of Auckland. His background is in investigating the life-course development of health and social outcomes, most recently using the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI).

Dr Nichola Shackleton

Dr Nichola Shackleton

Senior Research Fellow - Nichola leads the big data analysis of 'healthy weight' outcomes

Nichola Shackleton is Deputy Director of the Centre for Methods and Policy Application in the Social Sciences (COMPASS) at the University of Auckland. She is a quantitative social scientist who uses advanced quantitative methods to analyse survey and population-level data (e.g., 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.

Dr Jesse Kokaua

Dr Jesse Kokaua

Senior Research Fellow - Jesse leads the big data analysis of ‘successful learning’ outcomes.

As well as working for A Better Start, Jesse is undertaking a HRC-funded Post-Doctoral research project looking at the value of education to Pacific families in terms of their health. This consists of two projects – the first using Graduate Longitudinal Study of New Zealand to investigate the association between higher education and measures of health and social wellbeing for Pacific Island university graduates. The second, uses the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) to investigate associations between parental education and child health outcomes, and whether any associations are mediated by incomes or other external factors.

Mr Nick Bowden

Mr Nick Bowden

Research Fellow and PhD student - Nick leads the big data analysis of 'resillient teen' outcomes

Nick Bowden is a Research Fellow at the Dunedin School of Medicine at the University of Otago. He is also a PhD candidate whose research focuses on Autism Spectrum Disorder and big data. Nick’s academic background is in economics, undertaking graduate research in hospital productivity and patient safety. His main research interests include mental health, ‘brain and behaviour’ issues, health economics, big data and sports analytics.

Dr Sheree Gibb

Dr Sheree Gibb

Senior Research Fellow - Sheree is the lead analyst for the theme, and leads the research monitoring trends in key outcomes.

Sheree Gibb works at the University of Otago Wellington where she is a Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Public Health and co-director of the Integrated Data Research Group. She is a leading expert in the use of the Integrated Data Infrastructure for health research. Her current research interests include mental health and addiction, and methodological issues in the use of linked data for research.

Professor Barry Taylor

Professor Barry Taylor

Professor - Barry leads the stakeholder engagement for the theme, and supports Nichola with big data analysis of ‘healthy weight’ outcomes.

Barry Taylor’s research interests have spanned paediatric endocrinology, sudden infant death syndrome (both epidemiology and the physiology underpinning the ability of infants to wake up on arousal), and the development of national mortality review for child and youth deaths.

Dr Stephanie D'Souza

Dr Stephanie D'Souza

Research Fellow - Stephanie supports Jesse and Nick with big data analysis of 'successful learning' and 'resilient teen outcomes.

Stephanie D’Souza is a Researcher with COMPASS (Centre of Methods and Policy Application in the Social Sciences). Her current research interests include using administrative, survey and longitudinal data to investigate child development, maternal wellbeing, and social and health inequalities in the population.

Dr Lisa Daniels

Dr Lisa Daniels

Research Fellow - Lisa leads the research investigating key outcomes using Plunket data, and will support Sheree monitoring trends in key outcomes.

Lisa Daniels is a New Zealand registered dietitian working in child health research. Her previous research experience involved conducting and analysing observational and clinical trial data in the area of maternal and infant nutrition. Her current work focus is on maintaining a collaboration with Plunket New Zealand and conducting child health research on data collected through their electronic database.

Dr Conway Powell

Dr Conway Powell

Research Manager - Conway manages the team and keeps everything on track.

Conway Powell was trained as a plant scientist, and was an agricultural research centre director. He works with Barry Milne in compiling Big Data research proposals and budgets, organises Big Data team keeps a close eye on the Big Data team’s research reporting requirements (to make sure that they get done on time) and generally likes to keep the project “on track, neat and tidy”.

News

Farewell to our Board Chair, Pat Snedden

Farewell to our Board Chair, Pat Snedden

After almost six years Pat Snedden has stepped down as the Chair of A Better Start E Tipu E Rea National Science Challenge. Pat’s influence on the Challenge and it’s direction has been enormous and we are hugely thankful to him for this. Pat’s commitments have grown...

Partners and Collaborators

VHIN logo