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.
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
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
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.
Dr Nick Bowden
Research Fellow - Nick leads the big data analysis of 'resilient teen' outcomes
Research Fellow and quantitative social scientist specialising in using linked population-level health and non-health administrative data for life course research – Nick has been part of the ‘Big Data’ team within A Better Start National Science Challenge for the last five years.
Nick Bowden is a Research Fellow at the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health within the Dunedin School of Medicine at the University of Otago. His PhD took a lifecourse approach to autism research, examining health, education, and criminal justice system outcomes of autistic young people. While autism remains a primary focus of his current research, his broader interest include exploring life outcomes for young people with other neurodevelopmental, mental health, and physical health conditions. Nick is currently the principal investigator on three separate research grants that focus on life outcomes for autistic young people and their families, the association between the physical environment and mental health, and the impact of type 1 diabetes on educational outcomes respectively.
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 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
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
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
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”.
May Newsletter Out Now!
Latest info about child health & wellbeing from A Better Start Click here to read the: May 2023 issue of A Better Start National Science Challenge e-newsletter. In this issue to you can read all about: - The environment a young person grows up in is associated...
Read our latest newsletter
Meri Kirihimete from the team at A Better Start, In this latest issue of A Better Start newsletter: - Update from the Challenge Director, Wayne Cutfield - 2022 Symposium - Guidelines for Supporting Students Who Self-Harm - Beautiful Gifts this Christmas - Infant Rapid...
Meet The Researcher – Dr Stephanie D’Souza
Dr Stephanie D'Souza is a researcher with A Better Start's Big Data team. She talks about her current project which looks at whether Māori tamariki screened for ADHD concerns are less likely to receive medication than non-Māori, the best piece of advice she was given,...