Back now...

Well, I'm back now after 6 months maternity leave and I am not sure whether it feels like I've been away or not.  It is great to be back at the TSB where a lot is happening, as always.  I have tried my best to keep up with things but please bear with me while I get up-to-speed.  


Our Technology-Inspired Feasibiliy Study competition is open now and it is great to arrive back in time to see what ideas this brings forward. 


The impact of recent developments in technology didn't leave me untouched as I took on the timeless role of motherhood.  I didn't know whether to be impressed or worried when my GP looked up a drug on Wikipedia when trying to determine whether or not it was safe to dispense to a nursing mother. 






I've been asked for views on the main challenges to address when trying to encourage disciplines to come together to innovate.  What can the EU do to encourage 'transciplinarity' more?  I've got ideas but would love to know if anyone out there has got any views on this.  If you do, please comment asap.


Many thanks.

2 SBRI competitions needing ICT solutions

First one is about Maritime Data and Information Assimilation:


and the second is on New Ways of Looking at Complex Problems


And when I say ICT, it is clear in our ICT strategy that a huge part of this is about the user and not just the technology.


Get your thinking caps on...

Getting Stated in Digital Preservation event on March 21st

For anyone wanting to find out more about Digital Preservation, the British Library Preservation Advisory Centre and the Digital Preservation Coalition have arranged an event for you on March 21st 2011 in Cardiff.


For details please see:

Any entrepreneurs fancy a trip to San Francisco in March?

Following the success of previous Missions to the US in Web tech, Clean tech and Health tech, we are proud to be involved in Web Mission 2011.  The deadline for applications has been extended to this Friday so please check this out...


Many thanks,



Funding opportunity for team and network analysis

A SBRI competition has just been announced on the topic of Collaborative Multi-Source Intelligence:


A great opportunity for ICT companies out there.

Real AI

The British Computer Society Specialist Group on Artificial Intelligence (SGAI) has announced the second in a new series of one-day 'SGAI Real Artificial Intelligence days', with a strong practical focus aimed at business and industry. This follows the very successful first 'Real AI' day in December of last year.


The event will feature talks from leading exponents and case studies outlining practical applications of AI from a wide range of application domains. Topics are wide ranging and include the use of AI in guided missiles and urban traffic applications, the application of AI to Optimising BT's Field Engineering Teams and the vision of the UK Technology Strategy Board (TSB) for the deployment of Real AI for economic growth and societal benefit.


The second 'Real AI Day' will take place on Thursday 16th December 2010, at Peterhouse College, Cambridge. Plenty of time has been allowed in the programme for discussion and networking with AI practitioners from business, industry and academia.


Full details can be found at The event will be held in conjunction with BCS SGAI's annual conference, AI2010.

Funding opportunities for promoting AI research

Through the BCS' Specialist Group on Artificial Intelligence, I've heard about a funding opportunity for organisations promoting AI research:


This is targeted at organisations rather than individuals.

Biometrics opportunity

There is a new SBRI competition now open on the topic of biometrics:


Lots of opportunities for ICT here. 


Harnessing data creatively

Check out the results of the Play your cards right seminar at Innovate10 at:


Lots of new and great ideas for data-driven services...

7 days to go to propose new ideas for Harnessing Data

7 days to go to submit an EoI for the Harnessing Large and Diverse Sources of Data competition.  I can't wait to see the proposals.  There are bound to be lots of surprises - fantastic applications we never dreamt of.

Update on Harnessing data workshops

Apologies for the delay in posting news of the Harnessing Data workshops that were held on Sept 9th and 10th. 


There was great attendance on both days with approximately 40 people at each one.  Rob Walsh (our Professional Facilitator who did a great job) and I both got the impression that everyone pretty much spoke to everyone else.  Feedback from both events indicates that nearly everyone met 2 or more new contacts they would follow up with.


Both days started with me presenting an overview of the competition.  On the 9th, this was followed by 3 presentations on challenges in harnessing data in different sectors: health, transport and financial services.  These were followed by group discussions on how the challenges across sectors compare and contrast.  After lunch, each attendee had 3 mins to tell us all about their ideas and perspectives with respect to harnessing data.  This was soon followed by lots of 121 discussions.


On the 10th, the competition overview was followed by 3 presentations on how some organisations are harnessing data in different sectors before some group discussions about where the biggest breakthroughs might come from in this area.  Like the day before, after lunch, each attendee had 3 mins to tell us all about their ideas and perspectives with respect to harnessing data and this was soon followed by lots of 121 discussions.


I'll go into more detail on the workshops in a later post.  I've posted 4 of the main speaker presentations in the document library of the Harnessing large and diverse sources of data group


I couldn't attend yesterday's optional briefing day but I hear there was a lot of interest in the competition there.  There are also lots of people wanting to find partners for projects.  My aim is to make the Harnessing large and diverse sources of data group on _connect a place for people to find partners for the competition (or for similar opportunities).

Opportunity for R&D funding to harness data more effectively

The full brief for the Harnessing Large and Diverse Sources of Data CR&D competition went public today at:


There are still some places available at the networking events on Sept 9th and 10th so book your place asap: 


IET Innovation Awards

IET Innovation Awards


Impact of data

I am currently in Manchester attending a JISC workshop on Managing Research Data.  Several JISC-funded projects are here to describe their progress so far.


On arrival, I looked through the attendee list and noted that I recognised far fewer names than normal so this is clearly a community I haven't really engaged with yet.


Yesterday, there was an interesting keynote speech from the Director of the Digital Curation Centre (DCC).  However, I noted that 'Impact' was the 3rd reason for why researchers should care about data curation.  I asked about the meaning of impact.  In the context of the talk, impact was about whether or not the research for which the data was used got published (and had an effect on the researcher's career).  The DCC focuses on transferring knowledge on curation into and around the higher education sector so this seems like an appropriate definition of impact.  However, given the potential socio-economic impact of research and resultant data, not to mention the business opportunities it could create (though we don't really know where or what these are, let alone how big they might be), I can't help feeling that we need to widen the definition to stimulate greater sharing and exploitation of data.  If businesses could generate wealth or increase the quality of life with this data then surely it would be easier for anyone to justify footing the bill for curation.  I will follow this up with the people I have met during this workshop. 


Does anyone out there have any specific case studies of money being made or saved through the exploitation of research data (specifically that data generated in a different organisation to the one exploiting it)?

Sustainable Economics for a Digital Planet


Just read an excellent report called "Sustainable Economics for a Digital Planet: Ensuring Long-Term Access to Digital Information" which was sponsored by the UK JISC among many others.


Maurizio and I are currently thinking about how businesses could benefit from the streams of data that are now coming into the public domain alongside that held privately.  The value of a piece of data is hard to assess partly because it changes over time.  Presumably, assessment is also difficult because value depends on what other data becomes available.  Data set X may have little value until Data set Y comes along and then BINGO! 


The paper I read this morning covers a wide range of economic issues that hinder data sustainability.  It does focus on the social value of information rather than its commercial value.  I am now wondering how its recommendations apply in a commercial setting in which the environmental and social benefits from data accessibility may not be the primarily motivation.

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