Frontier Data Study

The NIRAS Digital Futures Hub worked with the Frontiers Technologies Hub (funded by the UK Department for International Development – DFID) to help it and the new UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to harness the potential of digital data in international development.

The Frontier Data Study was designed, led, and drafted by the Digital Futures Hub and was released in October 2020.

Based on our extensive global stakeholder consultations, from technicians to front-line staff, in-depth review of digital data pilots and research, and our knowledge of international standards in official statistics, the Study includes:

• practical guidance for anyone working in international development, whether curious about using digital data or seeking inspiration for improvements in evidence-based decision-making
• an assessment of the most promising new data sources and what is coming over the horizon
• considerations of best data practices and how to combine new and traditional data sources
• corporate and other considerations for optimising the use of digital data, and
• evidence of how digital data can be harnessed to help make sure ‘no-one is left behind’ and how it can be used ethically

The report and user guides can be found here:



In the course of the project the Data Futures Hub developed some tools to help us as a community move towards addressing the key questions of the Study. These ‘Knowledge-Builders’ include: