Training, Competencies and Capacity Development

Task Team of the UN Committee of Experts on Big Data and Data Science for Official Statistics


The Task Team on Training, Competencies and Capacity Development (Task Team) works on understanding and proposing solutions to help build capacity for institutions that are embracing, or consider embracing, the use of big data in official statistics. The work includes projects to understand where national statistical offices currently are on their individual big data journeys, as well as projects that aim to understand all current and future development needs. The work aims to ensure NSOs around the world are increasingly equipped to work effectively with non-traditional data and to produce statistics that are authoritative, provide value and insight, and are trustworthy. The Task Team also works to support other task teams in their training programmes by providing guidance on common approaches to the development of training courses.

The Task Team was established in February 2019 and currently brings together 13 countries and 7 international institutions.

This work programme for 2024 builds on the work carried out in previous years.


The general objectives of this task team are to:

  1. Develop methods and tools (including coordination and facilitation) for
    1. a baseline need identification of "Big Data" skills in NSSs; and
    2. an assessment of institutional readiness of NSSs in using Big Data
  2. Build a competency framework for the Big data acquisition and processing in the current data landscape of NSSs;
  3. Identify and analyze the existing supply of training of data scientists in academic and other centers;
  4. Facilitate establishing a global network of institutions for training and capacity building on Big Data in official statistics, under the umbrella of the UN-CEBD;
  5. Review of experiences and lessons learned from different organizational structures and data science governance across national statistical systems;
  6. Provide guidance on the development of a training program that addresses the gaps and mismatches identified in the competencies analysis [as defined in points (a)-(c)].
  7. Coordinate training plans in line with the Global Survey on Big Data for Official Statistics and other outcomes from tasks teams formulated within the UN-CEBD or other relevant stakeholders.

In its work, the Task Team will review available works on human resources, skills and capabilities prepared by other international bodies, such as, for example the ESS Resources Directors Group Task Force on Skill Gaps or the work done by UNECE High-Level Group for the Modernization of Official Statistics.

Activities and deliverables in 2024

The Task Team on Training, Competencies and Capacity Development will continue to take on a central role in providing guidance and support for the consistency of e-learning courses developed by other task teams. The Task Team will reach out to training focal points of all other task teams of the UNCEBD.

The work of the Task Team will be organized through different sub-working groups that will deliver on the following activities and outputs:

This subgroup has already developed a set of guidance materials (primarily for other task teams) for the development of training materials and training courses, including model curricula, addressing needs assessments based on existing tools, and requirements for course development at different levels (awareness, beginner, practitioner).

The subgroup will continue to provide guidance, support and training for other task teams (where required) on how to set learning objectives at the different curriculum levels and sharing good practice in course design.

The subgroup will do reviews of e-learning courses before their deployment and will actively support their deployment on the LMS.

The already developed overarching Big Data Training Curriculum will be reviewed to ensure it meets emerging needs and translations into other UN languages will be made available.

In addition, the subgroup will set up and manage a website (via Wiki) on a Task Team Webinar Programme.

A workstream on Communication and Marketing will be started.

The task team will also support the management of the International Data Masterclass.

The catalogue was established in 2022 and outlines relevant training courses and other materials for big data work and provides links to the available resources. The catalogue needs to be maintained – in terms of verifying existing information and adding new courses/materials that become available. An update has been carried out in 2023.

Such reviews/updates are expected twice a year and are scheduled for March and September 2024.

The matrix will be made available to countries in a stand-alone format for self-assessments. In these self-assessments, NSOs can identify their stage of development along detailed components/dimensions of the use of big data, such as legal framework, IT infrastructure, human resources and big data applications in the production of statistics, generating an overall picture.

Work in 2024 will focus on (a) continuation of a review of underlying concepts of the maturity matrix, (b) developing a pool of resources that can be linked as recommendations after a country’s self-assessment, including identifying and communicating with additional partners to obtain input, and (c) review and improve the functioning of the existing online draft application, including technical issues.

A future version 2.0 could provide a higher granularity of questions/evaluation criteria and improve applicability (e.g., on a project basis) based on user feedback.

The LMS is available to all task teams to host their online training programmes and uses the UN Global Platform to provide access to all countries. Courses hosted are typically developed by different task teams but go through a review process by subgroups A and C of our task team before being posted.

The work of this subgroup in 2024 will focus primarily on technical support for the LMS, such as programming issues. The overall work is expected to be limited.

(Note that the LMS also hosts UNSD courses on statistics issues not related to big data.)

This subgroup will bring together representatives from the existing Regional and Global Hubs (Brazil, Indonesia, Rwanda, UAE, China, ARIES). The subgroup invites updates from each Hub to share what is happening and planned, with an aim to establish collaborative support, knowledge exchange and synergies.

Recent Events

6th International Conference on Big Data

Session 10 - Training in use of new data sources and new technologies - Sep 2020

Task Team members


  • Brazil (IBGE)
  • Canada (Canada School of Public Service)
  • Canada (Statistical Society of Canada, SSC)
  • Canada (Statistics Canada)
  • Chile (INE)
  • Denmark (Statistics Denmark)
  • India (Indian School of Business)
  • Indonesia (Statistics Indonesia, BPS)
  • Mexico (INEGI)
  • Poland (Statistics Poland)
  • United Arab Emirates (Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi)
  • United Kingdom (Office for National Statistics, ONS)
  • United States (Census Bureau)

International Institutions

  • AfDB
  • ITU
  • PARIS21
  • SIAP
  • UNSD