Jan. 11 – The Open Data Institute (ODI) opened for business in December, underlining the UK’s position as a world leader in the field. The Technology Strategy Board is a key funder of the new institute providing £2 m per year over the next five years.
The brainchild of inventor of the worldwide web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt of the University of Southampton, the ODI has already announced its first major investor, the Omidyar Network, who will provide $750,000 over two years to help release the benefits of open data.
Research from Deloitte has found that while the UK does not have the same quantity of data as government open data sites in countries such as the US and France, in the period studied by Deloitte UK’s data.gov.uk received more daily visits than either data.gov or data.gouv.fr.
The ODI’s Chief Executive Gavin Starks said: “Open data holds huge, largely untapped potential to change the way we function as a society. The ODI will enable organisations and individuals to find and exploit new markets and business opportunities; explore and understand social and cultural trends and experiment with ways of explaining this evolving ecosystem.”
Iain Gray, CEO of the Technology Strategy Board said: “The Open Data Institute provides a focus for anyone with an interest in sharing and exploiting open data and a place for them to network and access the expertise that will help them to accelerate the development of new technologies and approaches and to promote the opportunities that open data provides across a range of sectors.”
Four start-up businesses are already working in the ODI’s head office in London: Mastodon C, Placr, Locatable and Open Corporates. Mastodon C has already used open data to identify millions of pounds in potential savings that could be realised by changing prescribing practices in the NHS.
Shortly after its opening the ODI also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the World Bank to help collect evidence globally on the benefits of open data and to train senior people to lead open data initiatives in developing countries.