On Friday, 5th April, Dr. Patrick Collins, Pobal’s Data Scientist joined DogPatch Labs for their monthly ‘First Fridays for Startups’.

First Fridays for Startups, powered by Google For Startups, is a platform for the tech startup ecosystem to come together on a regular basis, enabling them to learn, connect and grow. Dr. Patrick Collins along with two other guest speakers delivered a short ‘lightning’ talk on the role of the Data Scientist, data driven decisions, and the successful use of data to build and grow a startup.

Pobal provides management and support services to circa 23 programmes in the areas of Social Inclusion and Equality, Inclusive Employment and Enterprise, and Early Years and Young People. Pobal administers these programmes on behalf of the Department of Rural and Community Development, Department of Children and Youth Affairs, Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, as well as the Department of Health/HSE and a number of EU bodies.

Dr Collins explained:

“Pobal holds a vast amount of data about the social inclusion, programmes we manage. We recognise that this data, if used properly, can be translated into information and knowledge about how to best support communities and improve outcomes for individuals. It is our aim to make these insights available to our colleagues in Government as well as to those delivering services on the ground.”

During his presentation Patrick Collins took delegates through the processes and platforms which Pobal utilises to manage and store high quality data. He also spoke about the Pobal HP Deprivation index, Ireland’s most widely used social gradient metric, which scores each small area (50 – 200 households) in terms of affluence or disadvantage.

The index is used by various state agencies and government departments to target resources towards disadvantaged areas. To access this index please visit Maps.Pobal.ie

He also spoke about the internally developed award winning Geosparcity index. This index highlights the relative supply and demand for childcare service and goes towards apprising grant applications for Early Years Capital

These indices uses various factors from Ireland’s census, such as employment, age profile and educational attainment, to calculate the scores.

Presentation Slides from the Lightening Talk Session can be viewed here.