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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Professor Andy Tatem appointed ‘Big data, machine learning and AI’ expert on the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office Research Advisory Group

Published: 30 April 2024
Professor Andrew Tatem

Professor Tatem is a Professor of Spatial Demography and Epidemiology at the University of Southampton and is the Director of WorldPop (, leading a group of 40 researchers and data scientists.

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) Research Advisory Group (RAG) provides a forum for independent experts to discuss FCDO science and research priority areas, guiding principles and, exploratory research, through the National Institute for Diplomacy and Development Research (NIDDR) mechanism. The research is problem focused, seeking to use the power of science and research to generate solutions to major development challenges, and generate evidence and data to support the UK’s development and diplomatic work.

Professor Tatem is interested in how populations, their characteristics and their dynamics can be mapped at high resolution across low and middle-income countries. His research has led to pioneering approaches to the use and integration of satellite, survey, cell phone and census data to map the distributions and movement patterns of vulnerable populations for disease, disaster and development applications. He runs international collaborations with national governments, UN agencies and data providers, and leads multiple research and operational projects funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust, World Bank, UN, GAVI, Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and others.

The RAG was particularly impressed with Andy’s breadth of expertise and work with data in the Global South. As a member of the FCDO RAG, Prof Tatem will join a team made up of internationally recognised academic experts including RAG Co-chair Professor AbuBakr Bahaj, Professor of Sustainable Energy, also at the University of Southampton. These experts in global health, demography, energy, climate, agriculture, international relations and economics will help support the delivery of the UK’s International Development White Paper and Integrated Review.

Professor Tatem commented, “I am delighted to be joining the FCDO RAG as an expert in Big data, machine learning and AI and forming international collaborations with researchers and innovators from around the world. I look forward to working with colleagues to play an important role in providing expert strategic guidance, rapid insight, and independent challenge to shape FCDO’s research investments.”

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