Alumni, staff and students join forces for innovative COVID-19 rapid data project

Since April 2020, the LSHTM Alumni Office has been working with Professor Chris Grundy to establish a network of volunteers that can devote small amounts of time to crowd-sourced rapid data work.
Keppel Street

The COVID-19 pandemic requires unprecedented global interventions and response. LSHTM has a long history of staff, students and alumni supporting outbreaks and emergencies, and this one is no different.

Crowd-sourcing splits large datasets/tasks into very small pieces, with the idea that each one only takes a few minutes. By having hundreds or thousands of people volunteer, together we can clean or enter very large amounts of data quickly.

It is fantastic to see over 2,000 staff, students, and alumni join Professor Grundy for this important project. Each piece of work requires only a small amount of time (generally one to two hours and many less than an hour). A key project is for WHO and requires checking datasets on what interventions have been carried out in every country in the world. 

“The nature of the global pandemic makes having people from each country, with as many languages as possible, more important than ever. It only requires a little time to make a big difference, this is the whole reason crowd-sourcing is so useful. Every single record checked makes a difference.”

Professor Chris Grundy

Thank you very much to all the volunteers who have taken part so far.

If you would like to join the thousands of LSHTM volunteers, please fill out our volunteer form.

Why we volunteered

“I am based in France, and I have been volunteering since the beginning. It has been great to see the project evolve and the database used in scientific articles, as well as recognised by WHO. We can all be very proud of the work achieved so far!”

- Natalie Moyen, France

“The WHO project and this dedicated volunteer group have brightened my hectic work schedule. I've written the activity down in my CPD logbook as 'learning by doing': there's learning on the go about a new coronavirus, but the collected worldwide data have already been used by researchers in a first publication only months in the project's tracks. Seeing the publication and reading it brightened my winter days. It also brought another highly motivational thought: this work counts not only because it is purposeful, but through such concerted effort it will produce more good quality evidence, information as well as learning material. I am ever so grateful that the LSHTM alumni are involved, and I shall proudly 'soldier on' to assist with this ongoing work.”

- Andreea Steriu, Bucharest

“It is a privilege to be involved in the volunteer group and to get a glimpse of the global picture of national and local COVID-19 responses. I signed up because I hoped my on the ground knowledge of a number of countries might help in checking data. In fact, the work has also been a help to me, creating a welcome weekly structure in the shapelessness that was the early pandemic.”

- Hermione Lovel, UK

“COVID-19 affected the normalcy of life and continues to take away many lives, as a health professional, knowing the magnitude of its burden, it makes me ambitious to contribute to the surveillance of this pandemic. More importantly, this platform makes me up-to-date on different measures taken in COVID-19 containment. It provides me with the opportunity to learn new technical skills and explore my interpersonal skills."

- Iradukunda Gad Patrick, Rwanda