Innovation Birmingham opens an Open Data Institute (ODI) Node and launches iCentrum building

Innovation Birmingham’s iCentrum building – which will open next month (March 2016) – will host the ODI Birmingham, the first ODI Learning and Community Node within the Midlands. This follows the announcement that for the second consecutive year Birmingham saw more start-ups established than any other UK regional city.

Launched in the UK in December 2012, the ODI is a non-profit organisation that connects, equips and inspires people around the world to innovate with data. The institute was founded by Professor Nigel Shadbolt and Sir Tim Berners-Lee – inventor of the World Wide Web – with funding from the UK Government and Omidyar Network.

There are over 25 ODI Nodes operating locally across six continents and connected globally to deliver a common mission. ODI Birmingham will commit their local expertise and physical presence to develop and deliver training to build capabilities, connect people and businesses through membership and events. The Nodes also communicate stories and catalyse the adoption of standards, tools and processes. Each Node adopts the ODI Charter, an open codification of the guiding principles and rules under which the ODI operates.

Innovation Birmingham was awarded ODI Node status following an extensive application and interview process. The 42,149 sq ft (3,881 sq m) iCentrum building will include the new Serendip incubator – with the ethos behind the space being to harness the power of serendipity and encourage the development of ideas – relevant to the Smart City agenda – by promoting interaction. To complement Serendip and to support the role as an ODI Node, there will be a state-of-the-art event and exhibition space on the ground floor of iCentrum for up to 500 people, and office suites for growing tech companies on the top floor.

Dr David Hardman MBE, Chief Executive Officer at Innovation Birmingham, said: “We are very pleased to become the region’s first ODI Node and look forward to delivering a whole host of open data activities. We will work with our partners; West Midlands Data Forum and Open Mercia, to actively engage with other innovators in key locations across the city region. Being an ODI Node will enable us to further extend our community and enhance Birmingham’s growing profile as a tech city.”

Gavin Starks, Chief Executive Officer at Open Data Institute, said: “With demonstrated local expertise and a strong local community, we are proud to welcome Innovation Birmingham to our ODI Node network. As a Learning and Community Node, the team will support hundreds of data-inspired start-ups, businesses and entrepreneurs, and in a purpose-built space that convenes innovators who share a vision for open innovation.”

The Innovation Birmingham Campus is currently fully let with a waiting list for space from new and growing tech businesses. Significant investment has ensured its 130 technology tenants can already access 30Gbit/s broadband speeds – equalling the fastest internet connection available anywhere in the UK.

For more information on the Open Data Institute, please visit www.theodi.org

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