Spatial and Temporal, Small and Big: Using wastewater data to monitor the spread of Covid-19

  Have you been monitoring the news about Covid-19 obsessively? And wondering when the economy will open and if it’s safe to go out and resume normal activities?     If you have, you’ve probably been hearing a lot about how testing people to detect the presence of the virus, tracing the spread through contacts and monitoring outbreak clusters, is critical to being able to tell how the pandemic is progressing and if it’s safe to resume normal activities and thus open up the economy. But in many countries, including the United States, testing has been a bottleneck - either there haven’t been enough tests or the infection has spread to such an extent that actually testing people and tracing their contacts simply isn’t feasible anymore.   Further, even in countries like Germany and South Korea that have successfully deployed testing and tracing strategies, it is still expensive to conduct these tests and continue tracing contacts. And until a vaccine and/or some form of treatment is develo

Clean Tech and Data Science Trends In The Age of Covid: Part III

So far, we’ve been looking at the trends in the clean technology and data science sector during the pandemic in terms of   companies’ requirements ,   startup activity and acceleration of existing trends in automation, robotics and artificial intelligence . Today, we’ll wrap up our series with a look at how jobs in this sector are holding up and the skills that are increasingly in demand.   First, how has hiring in the sector been impacted?   Like many sectors, hiring in the clean technology and data science sector has slowed as companies and organizations evaluate their status and determine what will be needed in the year ahead. Hiring in many traditional roles in organizations and companies (e.g. environmental consultants, power plant engineers, wastewater treatment scientists, city sustainability officers) has been put on pause or eliminated at this time. These companies are essential organizations and are open, but they are typically operating with a skeleton staff and are still ev

Clean Tech and Data Science Trends In The Age of Covid: Part II

Last time , we looked at how Covid and the restrictions due to the pandemic are impacting the clean tech sector and accelerating existing trends in automation, robotics and artificial intelligence.   Today, let’s take a look at how the pandemic is impacting startups and funding.   For a long time, VC funding has been synonymous with innovation. Think of any of the large companies today - Google, Facebook, Uber, Tesla - they’re all products of the venture capital system. Clean technology saw a spike in VC funding in 2008-2010 and then interest and funding dollars waned after that - mainly because of a large number of bankruptcies and losses to the VC firms involved. Also, VC funding is often referred to as “impatient money” because returns on investments are expected within a relatively short timeframe, usually the life of the fund which is about 7-10 years. However, clean technology firms that rely heavily on infrastructure and hardware often take longer to exit and the returns are not

Clean Tech and Data Science Trends In The Age of Covid: Part I

  As Covid-19 sweeps around the world, we’re beginning to see the economic impacts from shutting down the economy in different countries. We’ve seen recessions and slowdowns before, most recently in 2008 and 2001, but this one feels different in several ways. First, the cause of the downturn is not a result of human antics, but a natural agent - a virus. Second, since we can’t really fix the economic issues unless the pandemic and infection rates are brought under control, the regular economic tools have limited impact. Third, this is probably the first time that the whole world is being impacted within a very short time, unlike the other downturns. This means that there’s no country or region that can act as a buffer or an economic engine for the rest of the world. Finally, it’s the sheer uncertainty in this situation - we’re still learning about the virus and there are a lot of open questions being researched now. For example, how it’s impacting different societies and populations, h

Helping Clean Technology Professionals and Data Scientists Work Together in a Remote World

  As the Covid-19 pandemic heats up, many of us are now sitting in our homes because of quarantine and enforced social distance and isolation curfews from local governments. If you’re like me, you’re probably talking to colleagues through Zoom, trying to make meetings work online, missing in-person interactions and doing our best to get work done under really challenging circumstances.   While it’s hard enough managing teams and people with different skills and backgrounds in general, doing so remotely makes it even more challenging! So today, I thought I’d talk about working with teams and professionals from two very different fields - clean technology and data science - and discuss what makes the working relationships between them effective and smooth.   The joy and the challenge of working at the intersection of very different fields is that often professionals from each field clash - world views seem so different that translators are needed to bridge the gap! That makes it difficul

Hiring In Clean Technology and Data Science

  Have you looked at our  jobs portal  recently? Or explored openings and roles at the intersection of clean technology and data science?   Something strange has been happening over the last quarter - something that we really haven’t seen for the last couple of years. Many positions in large companies and startups that were posted late last year have been reposted again this quarter. And not just that, we’re seeing several openings posted on job sites and go unfilled despite repeated postings and connections with different networks.     So, this month, let’s go a little deeper and see what’s happening in the market.     For the last couple of years, we’ve been seeing a steady growth in roles for data scientists, modelers, program managers, C-level positions in companies in agriculture, energy, sustainability and water sectors. Initially, as we would have expected, we saw a lot of positions in newer companies - companies like Climate Corporation, Opower, Blue River Technology and so on.