Government reveals plans for Open Data Institute

New body will oversee development of new businesses using government’s public datasets.

government

The UK government has solidified plans to create an Open Data Institute (ODI) that will support start-ups and small businesses using publicly available datasets.

We are at the very beginning of the journey. We have an incorporated company, a promise of funds and a huge challenge.

In addition to helping those in need, the institute - co-directed by Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt - aims to have a positive effect on economic growth too. It will be based in the new Tech City UK in London's Shoreditch.

First announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in November last year and developed with help from the government's innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, the government has committed up to 10 million over five years to support the ODI. It is hoped this will be a precursor to matched funding from the private sector.

The government plans to involve businesses, the public sector and academic institutions with the ODI and also hopes that it will serve to support greater cooperation, integration and bridge building between them as well as the ability to better exploit economic opportunities around open data.

The ODI will also host hackathons' to support specific data wrangling' activities, work on newly released data sets, or the data of a specific organisation.

It will also look into developing and supporting new use cases and business cases for open data as well as undertaking engagements to demonstrate the way in which a particular business can identify open data to enhance its own processes, products and services.

"We are at the very beginning of the journey. We have an incorporated company, a promise of funds and a huge challenge. We are as yet only three people - but over the course of the next four months we will recruit great staff, procure exciting premises and launch an ambitious programme of work. We are publishing our implementation plan that sets out initial priorities along with a more detailed business plan that details our programme of work and the projected costs," the ODI said on its website this week.

"We will be a place that develops the very best UK talents in open data. A focal point where current and future entrepreneurs and developers, technologists and creatives meet, share ideas, make things happen and drive growth."

Also announced was the ODI's Jump Start scheme for UK students. The ODI will provide technical and business support for ultra early start-ups that have significant open data potential and offer them an opportunity to develop their business ideas with the support of the ODI for up to a year.

The ODI aims to be open by September of this year.

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