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EU pledges €14m to bring Britain’s open data success to the continent

The EU is putting €14m (£10.9m) behind open data in a bid to replicate the success of the UK’s Open Data Institute (ODI).

€7.8m will fund the Open Data Incubator for Europe, while the remaining money will go towards a research network and an academy to train data scientists.

Announced at the ODI Summit in London, it is the largest direct investment in open data startups in the world.

Incubation, research and education

The funding will be divided into three pots with the following briefs:

  • €7.8m for a Europe-wide incubator programme based on the ODI’s Startup Programme
  • €3.7m for a Europe-wide web data research network
  • €2.9m for a new European Data Science Academy to train the next generation of data scientists

The ODI’s Startup Programme has so far supported 18 companies that use open data as part of their service, with the aim of helping them develop a sustainable business.

Companies on the programme have secured over £2.5m (€3.2m) in funding and investment since joining.


All three aspects of the funding involve the ODI and the University of Southampton as partners.

Other partnering organisations include, The GuardianWayra and the Open Knowledge Foundation in Germany.

A number of other universities and research institutes are also partnering, including  The Open University and others from France, Germany, Greece, Sweden, Slovenia, Sweden and the Netherlands.

The search for world-firsts

The EU funding was allocated via its Horizon 2020 funding programme, designed to foster European breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by helping take great ideas from the lab to the market.

The programme has €80bn of funding available over 7 years, from 2014 to 2020.

The Open Data Institute was founded by Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt and Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee to create economic, environmental, and social value from open data.