Digital Catapult to help West Midland public sector organisations improve data sharing

Digital Catapult is promoting better data sharing between public bodies in the West Midlands following the granting of its first licence to use its Data Catalyser suite of services.

Birmingham City University will be the first institution to use the services that could help organisations share data. The university has partnered with Digital Catapult with the aim of unlocking opportunities for new products, services, tools, insights and innovations through sharing and mixing data and allowing select groups of trusted and approved data specialists access. Digital Catapult is backed by Innovate UK, the operating name of the Technology Strategy Board. Digital Catapult is the national centre for supporting economic growth in the UK’s digital industries.

The university will install and operate the West Midlands Data Catalyser as a regional and national hub for the unlocking and smart use of currently closed and proprietary data and will be working with a wide range of organisations. These organisations include Birmingham City Council, the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP), the West Midlands Combined Authority as well as other businesses.

Andrew Carr, chief operating officer of the Digital Catapult, said that a number of businesses in the West Midland could also become involved in the project.

“The Digital Catapult is here to develop breakthroughs for the UK’s data sharing movement and through licensing the Data Catalyser to select organisations, we will be able to accelerate the safe links between data innovators, start-ups, scale-ups and data challenge owners across all sectors to deliver new shared innovation and productivity,” he said.

“The Data Catalyser has been created to help advance the UK’s data sharing potential and we are delighted that Birmingham City University will be our first partner.”

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Dr Umar Daraz, Director for the Institute of Sustainable Futures said the hosting of the project in the West Midlands was a “real coup” and recognises “our growing capability and strong links with the SME community across a number of sectors”.

News of the West Midlands Data Catalyser closely follows the announcement of the university’s STEAMHouse project earlier this month, which will use the Data Catalyser. The Government announced that it will be contributing £14 million to help transform the former Typhoo tea factory in Birmingham into a collaborative innovation centre for solving the challenges facing SMEs in the West Midlands region.

Colin Marrs

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