The beacon project: Open Data Experimentarium
Before the summer, SDU established the beacon project Open Data Experimentarium (ODEx). Together with two other beacon projects, Drones and Welfare Innovation, ODEx represents a strategic effort from SDU in engaging with society.
According to the project description, ODEx is "a demonstration-based platform that will help secure competences, systems and resources in gathering, handling, analysing and distributing data from many different sources". But what does that actually mean, and what value does ODEx help create for SDU, and not least for the Faculty Science?
Professor WSR Peter Schneider-Kamp from IMADA is principal investigator (PI) for ODEx. He explains that ODEx has many different usage options and that the platform is aimed at many different target groups, including students:
"ODEx makes it possible to communicate student projects to companies in Open Data. This could include Bachelor and Master's projects as well as individual study activities. In this way, ODEx will contribute to making sure that graduates from SDU acquire the relevant competences in Open Data, which we already know are in demand in the job market," emphasises Peter Schneider-Kamp.
ODEx will thus provide students with an opening for collaborations with companies and public institutions, but the project will also make a contribution to society. For instance, ODEx is already underway with the first collaboration with the City of Odense and Geo Fyn regarding traffic. Here, ODEx is helping to gather, visualise and analyse traffic and movement data in order to support traffic planning. The other aspect in the collaboration with the City Administration is that the public will be involved in delivering data and will also receive valuable information about traffic as well as guidelines for route-planning.
Dean Martin Zachariasen says that ODEx will have significance for researchers at SDU - including at Science - as using the data will provide the opportunity for unique interdisciplinary collaborations:
"ODEx is a platform which creates value for SDU through collaborations with society about Open Data. It is expected that ODEx will contribute to building an environment and strengthening the academic environments at SDU - as well as making efforts to increase participation in European networks. Furthermore, I am convinced that ODEx will be part of supporting SDU's strategy to increase engagement with society, and as Dean I can only be pleased about that."
Over the last couple of months, the organisation of ODEx has come together. All key competences in handling Open Data are now assembled, and a strengthened foundation for knowledge sharing in e.g. business models, implementation and use of Open Data has been created. The steering group for ODEx consists of participants from all five faculties and reports to the newly established Research and Innovation Council at SDU. The steering group's members are: Martin Zachariasen, NAT (chairman); Peter Schneider-Kamp, NAT (PI); Jeanette Lemmergaard, SAMF; Per Krogh Hansen, HUM; Lars Porskjær, TEK; and Jørgen Povlsen, SUND.
The kick-off meeting for ODEx was held on 27 October, when ODEx was presented internally to all of SDU. As well as a presentation of the ODEx platform, a presenter from an external company was there to explain about the opportunities for innovation that using Open Data can provide. The kick-off meeting concluded with a feature from Eric Bjørklund, who works for SDU at the South Denmark European Office in Brussels. He was there to present the Big Data Value Association (BDVA). In the future, ODEx wishes to collaborate with international partners who work in Open Data/Big Data, and in this respect BDVA could be an important partner in the communication of projects and collaboration partners.