TELUS Data for Good program to provide de-identified network mobility data and insights to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada in support of COVID-19 research
Qualified researchers will be able to use depersonalized data from TELUS Insights to measure progress and assess additional opportunities to help stop the spread of COVID-19 without compromising the personal privacy of Canadians
Ottawa, Ontario - The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the largest funder of natural science and engineering research in Canada, and TELUS are working together to support government efforts to flatten the curve and reduce the spread of COVID-19. TELUS will share insights with NSERC researchers free of charge and provide supervised and guided access to strongly de-identified and aggregated network mobility data to be used by NSERC-eligible researchers that are studying and assessing the COVID-19 crisis. For research projects that qualify, NSERC will offer a $50,000 grant as part of their NSERC Alliance COVID-19 grants program.
“This data will help Canadian researchers to better understand and measure various elements of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a number of other factors that will inform our efforts to keep people safe now and in the future,” said Marc Fortin, Vice President of Research Partnerships at NSERC. “It is also important from a privacy and trust standpoint that any use of data analytics is done in a manner that is transparent and respectful of Canadians’ expectations about their personal privacy, and we believe this collaboration with TELUS achieves exactly that.”
The partnership with NSERC will allow Canadian researchers supervised and guided access to rigorously de-identified TELUS network mobility data so that it can be aggregated, extrapolated and then analyzed in conjunction with other data -- such as the number of positive diagnoses in a region -- in order to find correlations that could help governments and health authorities develop public policy and determine where to allocate much-needed resources.
“As a leading communications and healthcare technology company, we have a responsibility to help keep Canadians safe and well. By leveraging de-identified and aggregated data responsibly, while protecting the privacy of all Canadians, we have a unique opportunity to detect trends and patterns that will assist in improving the coordination of healthcare and contribute to studies that could prevent or mitigate future phases of COVID-19 or other pandemics,” said Pam Snively, Chief Data and Trust Officer at TELUS. “We believe there is a very clear and strategic benefit to our society that can be achieved by using depersonalized data to help researchers to make more informed and strategic decisions as they and governments, healthcare authorities and public agencies work tirelessly to stem the spread of COVID-19.”
TELUS is the only telecommunications company in Canada to achieve Privacy by Design Certification through the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB) for our Insights platform. In keeping with our mandate to be transparent with customers about how TELUS handles, uses, and protects customer information, we published a data sharing commitment as part of our Data for Good program. The program leverages the TELUS Insights platform, which uses an advanced approach to data analytics that can help all levels of government and government agencies make more strategic and informed decisions based on real-world information. Using industry-leading privacy standards, TELUS de-identifies this information, combines it into large aggregated data sets to further ensure privacy, and then extrapolates this data to reveal trends and patterns about how devices move around the TELUS network. The extrapolation methodology takes a representative sample and models it to represent the total population.
About Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
NSERC aims to make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for the benefit of all Canadians. The agency supports students in their advanced studies, promotes and supports discovery research, and fosters innovation by encouraging Canadian organizations to participate and invest in postsecondary research projects. NSERC researchers are on the vanguard of science, building on Canada's long tradition of scientific excellence.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, NSERC is leveraging the expertise of researchers in natural science and engineering and their partners across Canada to address this unprecedented crisis. NSERC is providing up to $15 million in total support to stimulate collaborations between academic researchers and the public and not-for-profit sectors, and industry to address pandemic-related research. Support for up to $50,000 for one-year projects is being made available immediately to NSERC-eligible researchers. NSERC will process these applications in an accelerated fashion. More information is available here.
TELUS (TSX: T, NYSE: TU) is a dynamic, world-leading communications and information technology company with $14.7 billion in annual revenue and 15.2 million customer connections spanning wireless, data, IP, voice, television, entertainment, video and security. We leverage our global-leading technology to enable remarkable human outcomes. Our longstanding commitment to putting our customers first fuels every aspect of our business, making us a distinct leader in customer service excellence and loyalty. TELUS Health is Canada's largest healthcare IT provider, and TELUS International delivers the most innovative business process solutions to some of the world’s most established brands.
Driven by our passionate social purpose to connect all Canadians for good, our deeply meaningful and enduring philosophy to give where we live has inspired our team members and retirees to contribute more than $700 million and 1.3 million days of service since 2000. This unprecedented generosity and unparalleled volunteerism have made TELUS the most giving company in the world.
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Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Media Relations
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