Our interactions in the workplace, at home or with public services are increasingly mediated by digital technologies. These technologies have great potential to boost economic growth and enhance our wellbeing, but these novel patterns of data use can also leave us vulnerable in new ways. 

Reaping the benefits of data and digital technologies will require robust new institutions or frameworks that can allow data sharing - helping develop new data-enabled products and services - while protecting individual rights and freedoms. Data trusts offer a mechanism to achieve this goal. 

Data trusts are a type of data institution that allows individuals or groups to pool resources, tasking an independent ‘trustee’ to manage those resources for the benefit of the trust’s members. Supported by a donation from the Patrick J McGovern Foundation, and in collaboration with Professor Sylvie Delacroix from the University of Birmingham, the Data Trusts Initiative funds research and pilot projects that support data trusts practitioners to respond to real-world data governance needs. 

As members of the Working Group on Data Governance, ML@CL provides expert input to scope GPAI’s work programme Enabling data sharing for social benefit through data trusts.

Related Publications

Data Governance in the 21st century: Citizen Dialogue and the Development of Data Trusts

Jessica Montgomery, Neil D. Lawrence

Future Directions for Citizen Science and Public Policy, CSaP:

Democratising the Digital Revolution: The Role of Data Governance

Sylvie Delacroix, Joelle Pineau, Jessica Montgomery

Reflections on Artificial Intelligence for Humanity, :

From Research Data Ethics Principles to Practice: Data Trusts as a Governance Tool

Sylvie Delacroix, Jessica Montgomery


Data trusts: from theory to practice (Working Paper 1)

Data Trusts Initiative

The Data Trusts Initiative:

International Perspectives on the Development of Data Institutions (Working Paper 2)

Data Trusts Initiative

The Data Trusts Initiative: