ODI secures funding to continue open data drive

The Open Data Institute (ODI) has secured $2.5 million in funding from the Governance and Citizen Engagement Initiative at Omidyar Network, the philanthropic investment firm established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.

This funding will help ODI deliver on its mission to build an open, trustworthy data ecosystem, where people can make better decisions using data and manage its harmful impacts.

The ODI will achieve this by:

  1. Creating sector-change programmes that bring together public, private and third sector organisations to address specific challenges in industry and society using data.
  2. Supporting companies and governments with data transformation, learning from experience to create practical tools and learning materials that help organisations adopt good practices for data collection, sharing and use.
  3. Building and supporting peer networks that enable people around the world working in this fast-moving area to learn from one another.

Jeni Tennison, CEO at the Open Data Institute said: “This funding will play a crucial role in enabling the ODI to deliver on our mission. As data moves from being scarce and difficult to process to being abundant and easy to use, there is an urgent need to build trust in how data is used, and harness its value for social and economic benefit.


Data infrastructure

“This grant supports our work developing ethics, equity and engagement around data. It helps us strengthen data infrastructure, making it as open as possible while preserving privacy; increasing data literacy and fostering open innovation.”

Martin Tisné, Investment Partner, Governance & Citizen Engagement initiative at Omidyar Network, said: “The ODI has succeeded in putting open data firmly on the map, as a foundational part of the data infrastructure any government or business needs to succeed.

“Data that is as open as possible while preserving privacy is essential to the success of artificial intelligence and other areas of data innovation. The ODI is one of the rare organisations that work across open data, algorithmic accountability and privacy.”

The new funding will allow the ODI to build on and advance expertise in its current programmes of work, including work to support companies and governments.

This is the third round of funding the ODI has secured from the Governance and Citizen Engagement Initiative at Omidyar Network. It received $750,000 shortly after it launched in 2013 and a further commitment of $4.1m in 2015.

Omidyar Network’s funding is the ODI’s second recent multi-million pound investment. In October 2017 the ODI announced £6m funding from Innovate UK to deliver a three-year innovation programme.

Last year it was announced that the provision of free, accurate and real-time open data by TfL is helping London’s economy by up to £130m a year. The research showed that by providing open data to developers, TfL is improving journeys, saving people time, supporting innovation and creating jobs.

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