Women in Data Science Romania (WiDS) 2024

Introducing Digitalization and AI Tech in Social Protection

A major reform of the Framework Law on Social Assistance, set to be approved in March, will introduce a crucial component of digitalization, and will utilize advanced artificial intelligence technologies to optimize integration, access to information, and the interoperability of institutions.

The Minister of Labor and Social Solidarity, Simona Bucura-Oprescu, emphasized this strategy during her participation at the international conference ‘Women in Data Science,’ organized by Stanford University, 360 Think Tank, and Wolters Kluwer Romania. In the same context, the minister supported the inclusion of the data scientist profession in the Romanian Classification of Occupations (COR), as a commitment of the government to promote digital skills in the national economy.

“We are in the midst of reforming the social assistance system. There are four laws that, together with specialists in the field, NGOs, and those in the social assistance system, we have analysed and started working on. We have finalized them, they have been through the Government, and now they are very close to the end of the legislative process. In March, we will have the social assistance reform package approved. It will be based on the use of digitalization in public services, and we wish to finalize the facilitation of access to public services through digitalization and AI by the beginning of 2026,” stated Simona Bucura-Oprescu, the Minister of Labor and Social Solidarity.

According to the Minister of Labor, the new legislative package (PL-x 8/2024) comes with two essential components: a National Registry of Social Assistance and Social Services Beneficiaries, as well as a National Registry of Social Services Providers. “All these can be achieved with the help of digitalization, algorithms, and Artificial Intelligence, and the profession of data scientist will be the key element in this ecosystem. I know that at this moment it is not in COR. You have my full support in the effort to introduce the occupation of data scientist in COR as soon as possible,” further stated the Minister of Labor and Social Solidarity.

The National Research Institute (ICI) together with 360 Think Tank have submitted the necessary documents for the profession of data scientist to be included in the occupational nomenclature.

“We are honoured by the presence of Mrs. Simona Bucura-Oprescu, the Minister of Labor and Social Solidarity, at the Women in Data Science (WiDS) Romania conference. Her support for the introduction of the data scientist profession in COR is very important for the mission we have undertaken. WiDS’s target is to have 30% women in this field, globally. In Romania, four out of ten employees are women, but in data science, the ratio is 1/10. Recognizing the profession and adopting it in COR is a small but important step in this ecosystem that we are building to facilitate women’s access to a career in data science,” stated Mariana Ungureanu, WiDS Ambassador for Romania and founder of the 360 Think Tank.

The fourth edition of the international conference ‘Women in Data Science’ (WiDS) Romania, organized by Stanford University, the 360 Think Tank organization, and Wolters Kluwer Romania, had the theme “The Future of Artificial Intelligence. Opportunities and Challenges.” Representatives of the public administration, the academic and private sector, diplomats, and specialists discussed how the use of AI can influence the development of the global and national economy.

“Companies that manage to develop their people in the field of data science and invest in AI technologies will benefit from this immense potential, will truly differentiate themselves, and will be the ones to succeed in the future. At OMV Petrom, we strongly believe that data science is one of those absolutely necessary skills. Our responsibility is to put people first and to act with integrity, ethics, and respect in everything we do. Two years ago, we started a Data Citizen programme, and I am very proud of my colleagues’ achievements at the WiDS 2024 competition,” highlighted Alina Popa, Chief Financial Officer and member of the OMV Petrom Board.

35% of companies worldwide are already working with artificial intelligence, according to IBM, and nine out of ten organizations use AI to gain an advantage over competitors, shows a study by MIT Sloan Management.

“Banca Comerciala Romana recognizes the transformative power of data science in the evolution of the industry we operate in and in improving our capacity to serve customers with unprecedented efficiency, security, and innovation. In an era where data drives decisions, the partnership with Women in Data Science (WiDS) Romania highlights, on the one hand, our commitment to continue making progress in financial services, and on the other hand, promotes an inclusive environment that celebrates diversity. Such initiatives are essential for ensuring a diverse range of perspectives that enrich our industry. BCR is proud to support WiDS Romania because we believe that by encouraging and educating women to pursue careers in data science, we invest in a future where innovation, inclusion, and excellence lead the way,” added Ionuț Stanimir, Executive Director of Marketing and Communication, BCR.

“We can confirm that the creation of the first Artificial Intelligence solution for the legal field in Romania has secured our position as a market leader, reaffirming once again that this is a winning strategy. We are proud that this solution was developed by Romanian specialists with a lot of passion and curiosity for the new,” noted Adrian Mantoiu, General Manager of Wolters Kluwer Romania, co-organizer of WiDS.

The fourth edition of the international conference ‘Women in Data Science’ (WiDS) brought together over 200 data science specialists, most of them women, from all over the world. During the event, the award ceremony for the participants in the Datathon Challenge ‘Equity in Healthcare’, held under the aegis of WiDS, took place, an international annual competition launched by Stanford University. Romania ranked sixth worldwide.

“I am proud of Romania’s performance at the Women in Data Science competition, at the third edition of the Datathon that took place earlier this year. The sixth place worldwide is an important achievement. Thank you for the community you have created in Romania,” supported Margot Gerritsen, Emeritus Professor at Stanford University and Executive Director of WiDS Worldwide, in a virtual message at the opening of the conference.

Partners supporting the WiDS 2024 edition and contributing to the development and support of women in Romania in a future field – Data Science – include OMV Petrom (Main Partner), BCR, and Hypercycle (Platinum Partners), Thoughtworks (Silver Partner), and other partners such as Adobe Romania, MAN, Ava Research. Alongside these, the initiative is supported by the National Research Institute (ICI), the Authority for Digitalization of Romania (ADR), the Ministry of Labor and Social Solidarity, the US Embassy, and the Embassy of the State of Israel.

The prizes awarded to the winning teams in the WiDS Datathon 2024 Challenge #1 ‘Equity in Healthcare’ are provided by partners: UNIQA, Hervis Romania, Enayati Medical City, the Andrei Pavel Association, and Adara Spa.

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