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Data Science Lab Director Awarded World Bank Grant

by TR Pakistan

Information Technology University (ITU) faculty member and Data Science Lab Director Dr Faisal Kamiran has won a World Bank innovation award for his research on the identification of hotspots for harassment of women in public transport.

His team has been awarded $100,000 by the World Bank Group and Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI) for innovations to prevent and respond to gender-based violence. The award, announced on Wednesday, is part of competitive funds totaling US$1.14 million distributed among 10 teams from around the world.

A panel had reviewed more than 200 proposals submitted to the World Bank Group and the SVRI following an open call in July 2016 for innovations to prevent GBV in low- and middle-income countries. Winning teams were chosen based on overall merit, research or project design and methods, significance, team expertise, and ethical considerations.

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Dr Kamiran’s proposal is titled Mapping for Policy. The project aims to provide an in-depth understanding of how fear and perceived risk of victimization in general and fear and perceived risk of sexual harassment in particular, inhibit women’s use of the Rapid Bus Transit system system in Lahore.

This is a collaborative project of ITU’s Data Science Lab and US-based think tank the Urban Institute. The award will fund a pilot project of the research in Lahore. The research will apply state-of-the-art data science and artificial intelligence (AI) techniques to tackle the menace of gender-based violence in the city.

Dr Kamiran has published more than 25 papers in various journals and conferences. His overall research focuses on data science. His list of publications includes four ICDM papers (A* data mining venue), one ECML/PKDD, two KAIS journal papers and several other high-quality papers. According to Google scholar, Dr Faisal Kamiran’s, and his research work has more than 300 citations.

Sexual harassment in public spaces is an under-recognized global human rights violation that disproportionately affects women and girls every day. There is a high risk of sexual victimisation in public spaces in low- and middle-income countries, where women and girls are increasingly entering the public domain. Pakistan, the sixth most populous country in the world, is ranked 125th out of 169 countries on the Gender Development Index (GDI) and 99th out of 109 on the Gender Empowerment Measure.


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