A new stimulus fund of £150,000, announced by the Open Data Institute (ODI) and Lloyd’s Register Foundation, is calling for projects that will increase access to data and drive innovation in the engineering sector. Up to six projects can benefit from the fund.
Leigh Dodds, Engineering for the Public Good project lead and director of advisory at the ODI told DataIQ that they are looking for people from public or private organisations of any size to submit ideas on areas such as safety at sea, safety of food, safety in the workplace and digital systems. He said: “They could be projects that are exploring ways to share data between organisations so that it can be used in new ways. It could be looking at improving data literacy or skills within part of the engineering and construction sector or within a group of organisations or perhaps piloting some of these new approaches to stewarding and managing data, or maybe scoping what a data trust might look like for some type of data.”
The manifesto Dodds refers to identifies a set of principles and recommendations to help improve the safety of built infrastructure by increasing access to data and driving innovation in the engineering sector.
In summary, the manifesto is “recognising that data is a new form of infrastructure and that to get the most out of that infrastructure we need to plan for it, maintain it and operate it in ways that create value for the public,” according to Dodds. The manifesto has been endorsed by a host of organisations including the Health and Safety Executive, Energy Systems Catapult, Royal Academy of Engineering, Mott MacDonald and Tideway.
The nine-point manifesto calls for the recognition of the following principles.
The manifesto forms part of the new Insight report on sharing engineering data, authored by Dodds and three colleagues from the ODI. The report puts forward a range of benefits of the better use of data including increased safety and increased productivity across engineering, construction and manufacturing supply chains, and reduced impact on the environment.
For example, all 300 utilities companies in Flanders, Belgium are required to provide access to digital representations of their infrastructure, using a common data model, the data from which is provided in a single repository of information. As a result admin costs have decreased by 80% and project delivery times have dropped from 15 to seven days.
Dodds said that the report highlights case studies of where increased access to data has created benefits across different industries but also looks at barriers that limit access to data that are causing challenges to progression in areas such as health and safety.
He said: “In order to get to the next level we need more information and more insight and that means switching to more predictive approaches of where accidents might occur on construction sites or at sea. In order to do that we need to get more than just accident reports, we need to get more data on operational issues so you get leading indicators.”