Open call: data institution mentoring programme

Mon Jul 5, 2021
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We are offering mentorship to UK-based data institutions between August and December 2021 – find out more here

At the Open Data Institute (ODI), we’re exploring data institutions – organisations whose purpose involves stewarding data on behalf of others, often towards public, educational or charitable aims.

Data institutions emerge in different ways. Some have been brought about by a ‘big bang’, with a clear mandate, significant funding and expert staffing. Others start off as small projects or initiatives before becoming organisations in their own right. Over the past year, data institutions of different shapes and sizes have approached us looking for guidance and support. We’ve found that they struggle with a range of challenges, from sustaining themselves financially, choosing the right kinds of technology to use, to designing effective data governance processes.

So, as part of our wider data institutions programme, we will offer mentorship to UK-based data institutions between August and December 2021. The ODI team will provide guidance and advice through 1:1 calls and group workshops, as well as opportunities for networking and knowledge sharing with experts within our network.

The offer: how will the mentorship be organised?

We invite people trying to launch a new data institution, or actively running one, to apply to this scheme.

We understand that every data institution is at a different stage of development and may need different kinds of support. For instance, some data institutions are still at the concept or design stage, and so the people behind them need to acquire new skills or find inspiration, while others may be more mature and need to grow their network of collaborators.

Applicants can therefore choose between the following three styles of support:

Type of support Academy: designed for very early-stage data institutions seeking inspiration and to develop new skills Community: designed for data institutions who are ‘under construction’, and looking to access guidance or find collaborators ____________ Network: designed for more mature data institutions looking to stay up to date with the ODI’s work and developments in this field
Access to networking events
Involvement in ODI research and product development
Access to our data institutions newsletter
Invitations to roundtable discussions with other data institutions and experts
Access to opportunities for promoting your work via ODI communication channels, such as Friday Lunchtime Lectures
Opportunity to invite experts to participate in board meetings and/or seek support with letter of recommendations
Access to 1:1 ‘surgery’ sessions with members of the ODI team
Introductions to experts from the ODI network
Access to workshops run by the ODI team

Mentorship is free to the data institutions that take part, however we expect participants to dedicate  time between August and December 2021 to engage with us and get the most from this activity.

 Academy data institutions are expected to:

  • attend three virtual and/or in-person workshops
  • participate in at least one round table and two networking events
  • request advisory and mentorship support from the ODI and external experts
  • contribute to the development of a case study

 Community data institutions are expected to:

  • participate in at least one roundtable and one networking events
  • request support from the ODI and external experts
  • contribute to the development of a case study

 Network data institutions are expected to:

  • participate in at least one networking event

How to apply

We are accepting applications from UK-based data institutions. Read more about what we mean by data institutions here.

We are accepting applications for Academy support by 1 August 2021, and applications for Community and Network support on a rolling basis until mid October 2021.

Interested parties should submit a proposal of no more 1,000 words in English to [email protected], which includes the below:

  • A short, no more than 500 words, explanation of your data institution, including goals, priorities and current status of development.
  • A brief description of no more than 250 words describing what the data institution hopes to gain from the mentorship programme and what type of mentorship support you want to get.
  • A description of the team who will be involved, including biographies and relevant experiences, and contact details, no more than 250 words.

We will review and consider all applications and we may also approach data institutions to work with us.

All proposals will be assessed as described in the ODI’s public procurement policy. In addition, successful applications will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • Alignment with the goals of the mentorship programme and with the ODI’s mission.
  • A clear and well-articulated proposal, indicating what the data institution is about and how it would fit into the mentorship programme.
  • Evidence of collaboration with external stakeholders, such as letters of support.
  • Demonstrated commitment to publishing outputs and working openly.

We are interested in supporting both emerging and mature data institutions. We also encourage applications from organisations stewarding data that may not yet have been set up or legally incorporated.

Summary of key information

  • Aim: The purpose of the activity is to provide mentorship to data institutions.
  • Audience: New and existing data institutions based in the UK.
  • Duration: 1 August 2021 to 31 December 2021
  • Application deadline:
    • Academy applications no later than 23:59 on 1 August 2021
    • Community applications on a rolling basis until 31 October 31 2021
    • Network applications on a rolling basis until 31 October 2021
    • Final work delivered by: 31 December 2021
  • Tender Reference: Data institutions UK mentorship programme

Contact: [email protected]