Training, Competencies and Capacity Development

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


The statistical community has the obligation of exploring the use of new data sources, such as Big Data, to meet the expectation of the society for enhanced products and improved and more efficient ways of working. Big Data could also support the monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals by improving timeliness and relevance of indicators. This should go without compromising their impartiality and methodological soundness.

Big Data is by definition different from traditional data sources currently used by National Statistical Systems (NSSs) requiring the development of new methodologies. Big Data sources pose challenges regarding methodology, quality assurance, technology, security, privacy and legal matters. This means that new skill sets are necessary. Some of which could be hired temporarily, others will need to become an integral part of the institution. It is up to the senior management to decide what will be done by the institute itself and what will be outsourced. Most likely, the statistical institute will need to build long-term partnerships with private sector, academia and research institutes to successfully work with new data sources and new technologies.

An additional complication is that there is not just one kind of Big Data source, and each kind of Big Data may have different requirements as far as new skill sets and new partnerships are concerned. We therefore need to develop methods and tools to identify and assess the needs for new skills.

The Task Team on Training, Competencies and Capacity Development is building on the outcomes of the work of its predecessor, while bringing in the requirements of new competencies and new skill sets for the staff of national statistical systems.


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.

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


  • Canada (Canada School of Public Service)
  • Canada (Statistical Society of Canada, SSC)
  • Canada (Statistics Canada)
  • Denmark (Statistics Denmark)
  • Indonesia (Statistics Indonesia, BPS)
  • Mexico (INEGI)
  • Poland (Statistics Poland)
  • United Kingdom (Office for National Statistics, ONS)

International Institutions

  • AfDB
  • Eurostat
  • ITU
  • PARIS21
  • SIAP
  • UNSD


  • Overarching Big Data Training Curriculum
  • Big Data Training Catalogue
  • Online version UN Big Data Maturity Matrix V.1.0
  • UN Big Data Maturity Matrix V.2.0
  • Guidance for developing online training courses
  • Course evaluation surveys and templates

Subgroups of the Big Data Task Team on Training, Competencies and Capacity Development

Development of an overarching Big Data Training Curriculum / Guidance for developing online training courses

Subgroup Lead: United Kingdom
Country/Agency: Canada, Indonesia, Mexico, AfDB, ITU, PARIS21, SIAP, UNSD

Development of a Big Data Training Catalogue

Subgroup Lead: Poland
Country/Agency: Canada, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom

Completion of the online version of the UN Big Data Maturity Matrix V.1.0 and planning for an extended version 2.0

Subgroup Lead: UNSD
Country/Agency: Canada, Poland, United Kingdom, GCC-Stat, SIAP

Managing a Learning Management System (LMS)

Subgroup Lead: UNSD
Country/Agency: GCC-Stat, SIAP

Evaluation of training materials’ adherence to guidance

To start in second half of 2021

Provision of course evaluation surveys and templates

To start in second half of 2021