New funding to accelerate benefits of open data

£8 million of new investment will help public bodies release data so that companies can develop commercial opportunities for that data. The funding runs to 2015 and was announced today by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude and Business and Skills Minister Matthew Hancock.
The Ministers set out three new complementary measures to open up access to public data, including:

•    a new £7.5m Data Strategy Board Breakthrough Fund, to which public sector bodies can apply;
•    a new £850,000 Open Data Immersion Programme, to which companies can apply;
•    upgrades to the format in which Ordnance Survey data can be downloaded, to make it easier, more accurate and more flexible for companies to use.
The announcement coincides with publication by the Cabinet Office of the first quarterly Written Ministerial Statement showing how departments are complying with their obligations for releasing public data, as set out in two letters from the Prime Minister, the Open Data White Paper and their own Public Data Strategies.

The new Breakthrough Fund will help government departments, agencies and local authorities with necessary funding to release data where there are short term technical barriers to data release.

The Open Data Immersion Programme will provide support to companies looking to reuse data to develop ideas for new products and services. It will comprise a series of different themed events and competitions run by the Open Data Institute to encourage SMEs and start-ups to work with data owners to better understand the business opportunities different data sets provide.

Competition winners will be eligible to take their concepts into early product development with a £20,000 to £25,000 investment. More details will be announced in the New Year.

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