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Government publishes Open Data Institute plans

The new Open Data Institute will initially support start-ups that use open data to drive economic growth

The government has today published its plans to establish an Open Data Institute (ODI) in East London.

The Open Data Institute, which will be co-directed by creator of the World Wide Web Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt, was first announced by Chancellor George Osborne last November in his Autumn Statement.

Initially, the ODI will act as an incubator of very early stage start-ups that exploit open data to create new products and business opportunities to help drive economic growth.

Cabinet Office minister 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.

"Establishing a centre of excellence and expertise in the heart of technology start-ups will support the very best UK talents to innovate and drive value from the data this government is opening up."

Universities and Science minister David Willetts, added: "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."

Activities planned for the institute include 'appathons' or 'hackathons', to support work on newly-released data sets and to develop new use cases for open data.

Furthermore, the ODI will provide business and technical support for start-ups that have significant open data potential and offer them an opportunity to develop their business ideas with its support for up to a year.

The government has committed up to £10 million over five years to support the ODI, which has been developed with the Technology Strategy Board.

It hopes to receive matched funding from the private sector, for example through corporate sponsorship, donations, research grants and other paid work.

Based in Shoreditch in East London's Tech City, the institute is scheduled to open for business by September 2012.


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