Tom Keighley

Open Data Institute to exploit data business opportunities

Plans have been published to establish an Open Data Institute in London, in another step aimed at driving innovation and growth.

The Open Data Institute, will be the first of its kind in the world, and will become the ‘go to’ venue for those seeking to create new products, entrepreneurial opportunities and economic growth from Open Data.

The initial focus of the Institute will be on incubating and nurturing new businesses who are exploiting Open Data for economic growth.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said: “We don’t just want to lead the world in releasing government data - our aim is to make the UK an international role model in exploiting the potential of open data to generate new businesses and stimulate growth.

The Institute will be based in Shoreditch, East London, and will be co-directed by Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, and Professor Nigel Shadbolt, with a forecast opening in September 2012.

Tim Berners-Lee said: “The Institute will connect together lots of people excited about Open Data. Those who produce it with those who want to put it to use in all sorts of fields and every kind of industry.”

Nigel Shadbolt said: “We have been working to open access to non-personal government data. The UK is now a world leader in this area and the ODI will show how value can be generated from this new resource as well as training a generation of data entrepreneurs.”

Activities at the ODI will include focussed engagements with business; ‘Hold Total Immersion’ events, consisting of 2-4 week ‘appathons’ or ‘hackathons’ which work on new data sets; the Jump Start scheme, which will use UK student talent; and the training of a cohort of Open Data entrepreneurs, developers, technologists, and evangelists, through a variety of courses.

The Government and investment of up to £10m over five years, will be a precursor to matched funding from the private sector.

Public funding will allow the ODI to be established quickly and will lead to a coordinated and strategic programme of development and exploitation as the area grows.

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: “We recognise the economic and social benefits of Open Data. That’s why the Government has been at the forefront of the Open Data movement.

“We are making more official information available than ever before. Data on areas like procurement, the quality of care homes and crime rates are already being used to provide innovative new services.

“Now, the Open Data institute will support businesses that want to use data in imaginative new ways for everyone’s benefit.

“This will release commercial potential, driving new forms of economic growth and new benefits to individuals.”

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