EU Invests £11m In Open Data Institute Backed Projects

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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EU to back Open Data Institute European startup incubator, research network and data science academy

The European Union (EU) is to invest €14.4 million (£11m) in three Open Data Institute (ODI)-backed initiatives, in what is described as the largest ever direct investment in open data startups.

It is hoped the funding, part of the EU’s €80 billion Horizon 2020 investment programme, will catalyse open data innovation across the continent by promoting early stage firms and educating data scientists.

“This is a decisive investment by the EU to create open data skills, build capabilities, and provide fuel for open data startups across Europe,” ODI CEO Gavin Starks told the Open Data Summit in London. “It combines three key drivers for open adoption: financing startups, deepening our research and evidence, and training the next generation of data scientists, to exploit emerging open data ecosystems.”

ODI EU investment

Open Data Institute ODI Sir Tim Berners LeeA €7.8 million Open Data Incubator for Europe (ODInE) will provide funding to up to 50 open data startups, which will also receive mentoring, technology, infrastructure and networking support from partners including the University of Southampton, Telefonica and The Guardian. It will start in the spring of 2015 and is modelled on the ODI’s existing startup programme, which has already supported 18 early-stage companies,

The second component of the programme will see the establishment of a €3.7 million research network at a number of European universities and the ODI. Fifteen researchers will focus on different aspects of the question: “how can we answer complex questions with web data?” and each university will be able to create two or three PhD positions.

Finally, the EU is to provide €2.9 million for the creation of a European Data Science Academy (EDSA) will train data scientists to gain the most from open data.

The Tech City-based ODI was established in December 2012 and has enlisted the support of a network of global ‘nodes’ in locations ranging from Hawaii and Osaka to Sheffield.  It is committed to ensuring the maximum amount of economic, environmental and social value can be extracted from wide access to a range of data that can be used in various applications.

Sir Tim Berners Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt are two of the co-founders of the ODI, which introduced Rio de Janeiro as its most recent node earlier this month.

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