Ministers launch Open Data competition

Date published: 14 June 2016

The Finance, Economy and Education Ministers have launched an Open Data competition aimed at supporting local schools.

logo for open data challenge competition

The competition, which is jointly funded by the Department of Finance and the Department for the Economy on behalf of the Northern Ireland Digital Catapult, is themed ‘Using Open Data for Education’.

Announcing the competition, Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said: “We need to look beyond traditional ways of delivering services and Open Data is a valuable resource which can help stimulate the development of new products, goods and services. This competition will provide an opportunity to engage with the local software development community to develop innovative ways to use open data for teaching.”

The open data portal brings together a range of data from government departments and other public sector organisations and is free to copy, adapt, commercially exploit and publish. Applicants are asked to harness the power of public sector open data on the portal in the development of new teaching resources which can be used by schools here.

The aim of the Open Data Strategy is to embed a culture of ‘open by default’ within the public sector here to drive public service efficiency, encourage innovation, and improve the economy.

The Economy Minister Simon Hamilton said: “The sharing and reuse of data are central to the role of the new Northern Ireland Digital Catapult and key elements of the Executive’s Innovation Strategy. Our knowledge economy has a strong cluster of data analytics and creative digital companies and I look forward to seeing how the results of this competition will encourage innovative educational resources.”

The Education Minister Peter Weir said: “I welcome any project or competition that provides schools with educational resources to help in the delivery of the curriculum.  I look forward to the outcome of the competition and to seeing the resources that are developed.  Competitions such as OpenDataNI, provide schools with the opportunity to engage with the business world, and in this case, the local software development community.  I strongly believe that employers have an important part to play in the education of our young people.”

An engagement evening will be held on 21 June from 6-8pm at the Ulster University Belfast campus. Potential applicants will have the opportunity to hear and interact with representatives from the teaching community.

The competition is supported by Ulster University, CCEA, ODI Belfast, NI Digital Catapult and the NI Science Park.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Applications for the first phase of the competition will be accepted until 28th September 2016 . Further details on the competition and how to apply can be found here and a twitter feed is also available @OpenDataNI
  2. Winning submissions will receive £2,500 each to develop a prototype of the solution. Two of these will then be selected for phase II with a further phased funding of up to £20,000 to develop a fully working teaching resource.
  3. The Open data Strategy was published in January 2015 and can be found on the DoF website.The OpenDataNI portal was launched in November 2015.
  4. Media enquiries should be addressed to the Department of Finance Press Office on Tel: 028 9081 6724 or Tel: 028 9081 6895. Out of Office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.


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