University of Southampton leads EU data support project for startups

A new EU-funded project to help businesses meet the challenge posed by data has launched today with the University of Southampton’s electronics department playing a lead role.

Data Pitch will provide funding of up to €100,000 (£85,000), mentoring and business support to up to 50 European startups and SMEs. It aims to create what it terms an innovation ecosystem whereby larger organisations and startups can work together to use data as an enabler to solve their business problems.

The University of Southampton is part of a consortium on the project and will work alongside the Open Data Institute, the Portuguese innovation company Beta-i and the French data marketplace Dawex.

The three-year project is being supported by the European Commission and it is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

Data Pitch will begin by running online and offline ‘datathons’ this spring, around themes including smart cities, health and wellbeing and food and agriculture.

The project team intends to crowdsource ideas for these datathons and will involve data providers, startups, data scientists and other experts working on cases for a set period of time, in a similar model to hackathons.

Elena Simperl, professor of computer science in Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton and Data Pitch project director

Elena Simperl, professor of computer science in Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton and Data Pitch project director

Elena Simperi, who is professor of computer science in electronics and computer science at the University of Southampton, is the project director.

She said: “In the digital age, every organisation, public or private, big or small, generates and owns substantial data assets. Not all of them have the opportunity to use this data effectively.

“With Data Pitch we take an established open innovation model and apply it at a European scale. We pair some of the most creative entrepreneurial minds in 28 countries and help them to solve data challenges that matter – for the economy, for the environment, for science and for society as a whole.”


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