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Southampton professors to co-direct the world’s first Open Data Institute to support UK business growth

Published: 29 November 2011
Professor Nigel Shadbolt
Professor Nigel Shadbolt

The Government has today (29 November) announced that University of Southampton Professors Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Nigel Shadbolt are to co-direct the world’s first ‘Open Data Institute’ helping to support growth of new businesses on the back of Government data.

Based in Shoreditch, the world-leading Open Data Institute (ODI) will innovate, exploit and research Open Data opportunities and involve business and academic institutions.

The ODI will demonstrate the commercial value of public data and the impact of open data policies on the realisation of this value. It will also develop the capability of UK businesses to exploit this value, with support from University researchers. It will help the public sector use its own data more effectively. It will engage with developers, the private and public sector to build supply chains and commercial outlets for public data.

In view of the commercial and social priority of Open Data, the Government is to commit up to £10m over five years to support the Open Data Institute through the Technology Strategy Board in an unprecedented, match funded collaboration with industry and academic centres. The implementation plan will be published by April 2012.

Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, Public sector Transparency board member and new director of the ODI, says:

“One of the reasons the Web worked was because people reused each other’s content in ways never imagined by those who created it. The same will be true of Open Data. The Institute will allow us to provide the tools, skills and methods to support the creation of new value using Open Government Data.”

Professor Nigel Shadbolt, Head of the Web and Internet Science Group at the University of Southampton, Public sector Transparency board member and new director of the ODI, adds:

“Data is the new raw material of the 21st century and the UK is world-leading in the release of Open Government Data. Open Government Data not only increases transparency and accountability but also creates economic and social value. The Institute will help business to realise this value and foster a generation of open data entrepreneurs.”

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