IBM to join Rolls-Royce coronavirus alliance Emer2gent group hopes to help companies and governments recover from the economic downturn

Rolls-Royce, 16th April 2020 - Rolls-Royce has invited a group of leading companies to collaborate on Emer2gent, a new alliance of data analytics experts challenged with finding new, faster ways of supporting businesses and governments globally as they recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19.

Early alliance members are Leeds Institute for Data Analytics, IBM, Google Cloud, The Data City, Truata, Rolls-Royce and ODI Leeds. The alliance will be facilitated and co-ordinated by innovation specialists, Whitespace. 

Together the initial wave of members brings all the key elements of open innovation; data publication, licensing, privacy, security; data analytics capability; and collaborative infrastructure, to kick off its early work and grow its membership. (see editors’ notes for each members’ contribution).

Emer2gent will combine traditional economic, business, travel and retail data sets with behaviour and sentiment data, to provide new insights into – and practical applications to support – the global recovery from COVID-19. This work will be done with a sharp focus on privacy and security, using industry best practices for data sharing and robust governance.

Emer2gent models will help get people and businesses back to work as soon as possible by identifying lead indicators of economic recovery cycles. Businesses, both small and large, around the world, as well as governments, can use these insights to build the confidence they need to take early decisions, such as investments or policies, that could shorten or limit the recessionary impacts from the pandemic.

The alliance is voluntary and insights will be published for free.

Caroline Gorski, Global Director, R2 Data Labs, the Rolls-Royce data innovation catalyst which started the alliance, said: “We want the global economy to get better as soon as possible so people can get back to work. Our data innovation community can help do this and is at its best when it comes together for the common good. 

“People, businesses and governments around the world have changed the way they spend, move, communicate and travel because of COVID-19 and we can use that insight, along with other data, to provide the basis for identifying what new insights and trends may emerge that signify the world’s adjustment to a ‘new normal’ after the pandemic.”

Andrew Brown, General Manager, IBM Cloud & Cognitive Software Europe said, “IBM looks forward to joining our existing partners and valued clients in this initiative. It is hoped IBM’s contribution will help accomplish the identification of proven use cases, to assist where recovery indicators emerge for countries, governments, state agencies and supporting companies to best respond to the next phase of the improvement in the pandemic.”

Professor Mark Birkin, Leeds Institute for Data Analytics, University of Leeds, said: "The COVID crisis has demonstrated the need for governments and their advisers to seek real world insights into mobility, behaviour and human contact networks. At LIDA we believe that there are mutual benefits from access to transactional data for scientific research, business and commerce, so will be working as part of the alliance to facilitate the secure sharing of data and to connect Emer2gent partners with expertise within the academic community."

Felix Marx, CEO at Truata, said: “Here at Truata we had no hesitation in offering our services as part of the Emer2gent alliance to utilise data for societal good. We’re keen to support the efforts in extracting the analytical value out of contributed data sets to assist in the containment of COVID-19 and drive economic recovery - in a way that fully respects the privacy rights of the individuals underlying that data. Truata will do this via its suite of proprietary privacy-enhanced data analytics solutions (including its data anonymization, privacy risk quantification, data de-identification and synthetic data generation solutions), which have been specifically designed to empower high-value analytics on large data sets while complying with the highest global privacy standards.”

“We are living in unprecedented times. And, at this moment of great uncertainty, we must recognise that we all play a role in addressing the global challenge as quickly and efficiently – but also as responsibly – as possible.”

Rajh Das, Manufacturing and Industrial lead, UK&I, Google Cloud said: “Google Cloud is proud to be involved in such an important project as we all work together to support business globally during these extraordinary times.”

Emer2gent has set up a website for potential members to register their interest at The first challenges have already been issued to the community, including one to identify lead indicators of economic recovery which businesses can use to build the confidence they need for investment or activities that will shorten or limit any recessionary impact from the virus.



Ben Todd 
Communications Business Partner
Rolls-Royce plc
Tel +44 (0) 7990 089836

Emma Bennett
External Relations
+44 (0) 7976839109


Notes to Editors

Emer2gent members, what they do and their press contacts

Google Cloud

Google Cloud provides organisations with leading infrastructure, platform capabilities and industry solutions to help them solve their most critical business problems. For this project, Google Cloud will be providing Google Cloud Public Datasets and Google Cloud BigQuery, a serverless, highly scalable cloud data warehouse designed to help businesses make informed decisions quickly and transform with ease. 

Media contact:



IBM will provide the following technology to the project: IBM Cloud Pak™ for Data, IBM public cloud and High Performance Computing. Additionally, IBM’s Data Science Elite team will provide its subject matter expertise as the data sets are brought together. Traditional data sources (economic, business, travel, and retail) along with behavioural and sentiment data will create opportunities to deliver greater insights by mapping COVID-19 dispersal and recovery statistics against human behavioural responses.

Media contact: Emma Bennett: +44 (0) 7976839109


Leeds Institute for Data Analytics, University of Leeds

Based at the University of LeedsLeeds Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA) is a world-leading interdisciplinary research centre for applied data science, bringing together researchers from medicine, social science, business, and computing. LIDA has a tradition of working with corporate partners through the UKRI-ESRC Consumer Data Research Centre. The Institute will contribute secure data infrastructure, scientific expertise, and access to global academic research networks.

Media contact: Robyn Abbott: +44 (0)7872946028


ODI Leeds –

ODI Leeds is a pioneer node of the Open Data Institute. It was created to explore and deliver the potential of open innovation with data at city scale. We work to improve lives, help people and create value. It runs the programme Open Data Saves Lives, exploring the benefits data and open innovation can bring in health and social care.

Media contact: Paul Connell +44 (0)7895 845749


Rolls-Royce and R2 Data Labs –

R2 Data Labs is the data innovation catalyst inside Rolls-Royce, one of the world’s leading industrial technology companies. R2 Data Labs exists to deliver untapped value from data, acting as a development hub for new services that improve the way we and our customers operate. We apply advanced data analytics, industrial Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to accelerate the development of new data insights, services and apps. Our unique operating model based on data innovation ‘sprints’ means we can unlock new value from data, combining the latest analytics technology with Rolls-Royce’s industry knowledge and engineering expertise to better support our customers.

Media contact – Ben Todd +44 (0)7990089836;


The Data City

The Data City provides real-time data on the economy. A spin out from the Open Data Institute Node Leeds, The Data City is a Tech Start up in the ML/AI sector that matches organisations to open data to understand what they do and where they do it, at scale. 

Media contact – Alex Craven +44 (0) 7766 703949; @thedatacity 


Truata enables its clients to derive the maximum value from their data assets while complying with the highest data protection standards. Truata offers its clients a service to independently anonymise data, enabling them to conduct privacy-enhanced analytics to drive business growth, uphold customer trust and protect brand reputation. Truata is based in Dublin, Ireland. For more information visit

Media contacts:  Ella Wallace-Browne / Aaron Frank; Berkeley Communications  +44 (0) 118 909 0909



Whitespace will facilitate and co-ordinate and programme manage the Emer2gent Alliance.

Media contact: Lauren Williams: +44 (0) 7827 998 558