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Meet our students: exploring climate and migration at UN IOM Hackathon

Hughes Hall PhD student, Nowsha Farha, impressed judges at the United Nations International Organisation for Migration (UN IOM) Hackathon, taking first place for her work.

The UN IOM Hackathon, whose theme was ‘Bridging Climate Change and Human Mobility’, took place this October in London and Nairobi. It brought together participants across sectors to “explore data-driven solutions and improve understanding of the complex relationship between climate change, disasters, environmental degradation, and human mobility” in the East and Horn of Africa.

We spoke to Nowsha about her research and her experiences taking part in the Hackathon event.

Can you tell us a bit about your academic background?

With a methodological background in Social Data Science and Policy Research from the UCL IOE Social Research Institute and the LSE’s Department of Methodology, I am currently pursuing my PhD at the University of Cambridge as a Hughes Hall Fresher under the invaluable supervision of Professor Rupert Wegerif, Director of the Digital Education Futures Initiative (DEFI) as well as Professor Steven Watson from DEFI.

What are you working on in your PhD at Hughes Hall?

My PhD Research focuses on the ethical use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Education with the goal of promoting responsible internet behaviour, effective utilization of technology, higher digital literacy and greater cyber wellness.

Nowsha at matriculation

Nowsha is currently undertaking a PhD at Hughes Hall in Artificial Intelligence in Education

Tell us more about the UN IOM Hackathon, and your experience taking part.

The United Nations IOM Hackathon took place at the IOM – UN Migration London Office in collaboration with UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction (IRDR), Snowflake and other partners. The Hackathon brought together data scientists and computer programmers from multidisciplinary backgrounds across the UK who produced highly insightful presentations, written submissions using rigorous methodology and carried out data analysis utilizing robust Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) data on the themes of Bridging Climate Change and Human Mobility.

It has been a phenomenal experience working together with such extremely talented participants. Following a period of deliberation and assessment by the esteemed panel of judges, I am immensely grateful to have won the Hackathon. Being the only representative from the University of Cambridge, it has been a privilege to be declared as the first-place winner.

Nowsha at the UN IOM Hackathon

Nowsha was the only representative at the UN IOM Hackathon from the University of Cambridge

How is the work you produced for the Hackathon going to be used going forwards?

It is an honour for me to have my work published in an IOM Report as one of the contributors, in addition to being offered a six-weeks part time work placement with the DTM Team at IOM UN London. Our findings will also inform a presentation at COP28 UAE. I am also thankful for the opportunity to deliver an online presentation at the Nairobi Hackathon for experts, professionals and climate specialists.

Congratulations, what a fantastic result! What’s next for you?

I aspire to stimulate ripples of highly impactful, positive and pragmatic changes which inspired me to start the HH Community Development and Volunteering Society and serve as the new Director of Cambridge Development Initiative.