The government will spend £30m on setting up an Institute of Web Science (IOWS).

The institute, which will be headed up by founder of the web Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt, will be jointly based at Oxford and Southampton universities.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the aim of the institute was to help UK businesses "realise the social and economic benefits of advances in the web".

"This will help place the UK at the cutting edge of research on the semantic web and other emerging web and internet technologies, and ensure that government is taking the right funding decisions to position the UK as a world leader," Brown said.

"We want to build on the outstanding work Sir Tim and Nigel Shadbolt have put in to 'making public data public'," he added.

See also: Berners-Lee forms group to secure web's future