Queen's Policy Engagement

Looking out for Big Brother: Queen’s launches Covid-19 Research Roundtable video series

Hosted by Prof Emma Flynn, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise, researchers and practitioners discuss the key issues raised by the pandemic and begin to plot a course for the future.

Looking out for Big Brother: Queen’s launches Covid-19 Research Roundtable video series

In the context of a global pandemic, is sharing our personal data now a societal duty – or is it an intrusion too far? Does COVID-19 put our food supplies at risk? Are we all in this together, or has the virus exacerbated already existing inequalities? What of those with unrelated health conditions, and what will be the long-term effect on our health service? How will the crisis affect other aspects of society, such as our arts and culture?

COVID-19 has had a significant impact not just in terms of the immediate effects of the disease, but across a whole spectrum of aspects of our lives. To explore these issues, Professor Emma Flynn, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and Enterprise at Queen’s, has invited a range of experts, both academics and practitioners, from within and beyond the University, to share their expertise in a series of panel discussions which will be released in both video and audio podcast format.

In the first programme, ‘Looking out for Big Brother’, Professor Flynn and her guests – Professor Frank Kee and Professor Máire O’Neill of Queen’s; Jayne Brady, the Belfast Digital and Innovation Commissioner; and Dr Stephen Farrell of Trinity College Dublin – discuss whether sharing our personal data is now a societal duty, or an intrusion too far.

Professor Frank Kee, Director of the UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health Research (NI) and Deputy Director for the Centre for Public Health in Queen’s, first shares his thoughts on how the NHS is managing to set up the necessary infrastructure around ‘track and trace’ efforts, to safeguard public health and data security.

Professor Flynn is then joined by the other experts in a wide-ranging discussion of the current state of play in the era of ‘big data’, from the risks of fraud posed by criminal activity to the opportunities presented by the unprecedented power of today’s data networks.


Episode 1: Looking out for Big Brother 

Look out for more roundtables soon. Next up we’ll be looking at COVID-19 and what it teaches us about food security?

Kevin Fearon
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Kevin Fearon is the Business Alliance Manager for the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty at Queen's University Belfast and manages the Queen's Policy Engagement initiative.

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