Open call: Peer learning network for data collaborations

Wed Oct 21, 2020
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We are partnering with Microsoft to launch a peer learning network to help address the data divide and help organisations realise the benefits of data

 

Tender reference: MS01 | Call for tenders by the Open Data Institute | Contact: [email protected]


Background

The Open Data Institute (ODI) has partnered with Microsoft to launch its Open Data Campaign, which aims to address the data divide and help organisations of all sizes to realise the benefits of data and the new technologies it powers.

As part of the campaign, Microsoft seeks to bring about and support data collaborations, particularly those that address significant societal and economic challenges.

Data sharing and collaboration is hard, and in our experience, many of the challenges faced by the people and organisations trying to build data collaborations are common. For example, many data collaborations have to address technical and governance challenges, and many struggle to sustain themselves financially in the long run.

We’re launching a peer learning network that will convene organisations collaborating around data, providing them with financial and other support from the ODI and Microsoft. Ultimately this will enable them to more effectively address the challenges they face.

The network will provide the data collaborations with opportunities to share and learn from each other, in particular to explore issues associated with trust and trustworthiness between participants and other stakeholders.

Within this peer learning network, we will be supporting an initial cohort of up to five data collaborations.

The following sections provide more detail on:

  • the types of data collaborations that are eligible for support
  • the approach and goals of the peer learning network
  • how we will provide support to the successful projects
  • the application process.

Awardees will have the opportunity to:

  • receive up to £20,000 for their time over the six months of the peer learning network
  • learn about and receive guidance from the ODI and Microsoft on different technical approaches, governance mechanisms and other means for managing data collaborations in different trust contexts
  • connect with peers also working on these challenges.

What do we mean by data collaborations?

For the purpose of the peer learning network, data collaborations are defined as:

  • involving a collaboration of companies, non-profits, research institutions, and/or government entities
  • addressing a specific challenge, whether societal or business-related
  • working to make data as open as possible in the context of the collaboration (see more, on The Data Spectrum here)
  • ultimately demonstrating increased access to, and/or meaningful use of, data in reaching the specific goal.

When it comes to making data as open as possible, some data collaborations involve the publication and use of open data that anyone can access, use, and share. This is similar to the open data challenge the ODI and Microsoft will be running alongside this peer learning network. Others involve more targeted data sharing and collaboration between different organisations. Some data collaborations may involve the collection and use of both open and shared datasets, or the sharing of insights derived from confidential data.

Examples of data collaborations

  • The London Data Commission uncovered insights on the electric vehicle (EV) market in London by establishing a pilot data collaboration with both open data (data from the UK’s Department for Transport, on traffic counts and EV charging infrastructure) and shared data (notably from UK Power Networks on power substation locations and capacity).
  • The INSIGHT Health Data Research Hub brings together scans of patients’ eyes and other sensitive medical data and makes anonymised data available for the NHS, academic and industry researchers.

Other collaborations, such as around drug discovery or medical diagnostic procedures, may involve data collaboration on sensitive datasets and use privacy-preserving machine-learning methods to enable organisations that are unable to disclose sensitive data, to train machine learning models on that data. In other scenarios, encrypted data received from multiple sources may be merged and used to train a model which is then shared or queried. Alternatively, researchers may take their queries and algorithms to data that remains with the data holders.

These types of collaborations are each taking steps to make the data used as open as possible in the context of the collaboration.

What do we mean by ‘peer learning network’?

Peer learning networks are efforts to foster sharing of knowledge and creation of new knowledge among individuals or groups from related disciplines that are at a similar level of maturity, or pursuing related themes.

The ODI’s work on peer networks in general aims to develop leadership and knowledge sharing in support of publishing and sharing data principles. You can learn more about our past work with peer networks here.

What are the key goals of the peer learning network?

The peer learning network is designed to convene data collaborations to enable them to learn from one another to more effectively address the challenges they face. It is a vital part of our partnership’s goal of enabling organisations of all sizes to realise the benefits of data.

To achieve this, the peer learning network will provide:

  • opportunities for data collaborations to learn from one another about their different approaches to data collaboration, and find solutions to commonly faced challenges and issues;
  • access to expert guidance and support.

We will also use the peer learning network as an opportunity to engage with existing ODI and Microsoft research and tools and to highlight gaps where we, and others, can develop new guidance, support, and tools to help data collaborations to take off.

Awardees will benefit from the following support from the ODI and Microsoft:

  • Regular contact (calls and written communications) with the ODI team.
  • Matching participants with one another to exchange experiences and learnings, and to work on common activities.
  • Training sessions and workshops on the topics of trustworthiness, trust and related aspects.
  • Access to Microsoft and ODI expertise (to be defined with the participants).
  • Introduction to relevant people, organisations and groups in the ODI’s and Microsoft’s wider network.
  • Promotional support (including opportunities to take part in events and wider public relations activities).

What kinds of data collaboration are we most interested in hearing from?

As a general rule, we’re interested in data collaborations that:

  • address a clear societal or economic challenge
  • involve companies, research institutions, non-profits, and/or government entities
  • can benefit from Microsoft and ODI contributions, such as through access to funding, or technical expertise and guidance
  • are working to make their data as open as possible in the context of the collaboration (collaborations working within constraints related to privacy or commercial sensitivity are encouraged to apply)
  • ultimately demonstrate meaningful impact from data collaboration.

We are particularly interested in data collaborations that want to explore issues associated with trust and trustworthiness or that are working to collaborate with data in safe, secure environments. The trust between participants in a data collaboration, as well as with other stakeholders, is a critical factor in the data collaboration’s success. It influences how different partners engage with one another and the types of activity they undertake. We want to learn more, and to support others to learn about these dynamics.

We therefore encourage applications from data collaborations experimenting with:

  • technical approaches that may help to address trust between active participants in the collaboration and with stakeholders, such as confidential computing and multiparty machine learning
  • new and novel governance mechanisms to determine how data is collected, used and shared within that data collaboration
  • efforts to demonstrate trustworthiness or to build trust between active participants as well as with other stakeholders, through creative approaches to transparency and engagement.

How will the network be organised and how can the funding be used?

We expect to carry out regular sessions with each data collaboration to provide access to support and guidance from the ODI and Microsoft throughout the period.

In addition to providing direct support to the individual data collaborations, we will organise a series of virtual workshops. These workshops will explore issues such as levels of trust and mechanisms to demonstrate trustworthiness, incentivising data collaboration, selecting governance models, and approaches to data collaboration growth and sustainability.

Applicants should expect to dedicate time for three to five half-day workshops and regular monthly check-in meetings over the funding period of December 2020 through May 2021.

We will also encourage and facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration between projects through online tools, such as mailing lists, group chats, and other knowledge-sharing opportunities.

The funding provided to the data collaborations will be used to compensate for the time spent by the data collaboration team to engage with the network.

Summary of key information

Aim:The purpose of the peer learning network is to convene data collaborations and enable them to learn from one another and more effectively address the challenges they face.
Audience:Existing data collaborations or new data collaborations around the world, in the early stages of their development.
Duration:Six months
Value of award (excluding VAT):We expect to make up to five awards, ranging from £15,000 to £20,000 depending on the number of awards. Applicants should highlight where there is flexibility in their budget in their applications.

Timeline

 PDT/PST date and timeGMT date and time
Briefing webinar:29 October 2020, 09:00 PDT29 October 2020, 16:00 GMT
Webinar linkWatch the webinar recording here.
Questions to the ODI by:6 November 2020, 23:59 PST7 November 2020, 07:59 GMT
ODI responses by:9 November 2020
Costed proposals by:17 November 2020, 23:59 PST18 November 07:59 GMT
Tender decision by:24 November 2020
Contracts awarded:1 December 2020
Final work delivered by:31 May 2021
Tender reference: MS01MS01
Contact:[email protected]

Terms of payment

Payment of the agreed contract price will be made at two milestones:

  • 50% at the halfway point
  • 50% will be paid upon completion of the work, including satisfactory responses to all feedback from the ODI

Deliverables

The main deliverable for each participant in the peer learning network is a short report describing their data collaboration and outlining their experiences in the network, to be delivered and published at the end of the funding period.

We also expect participants to:

  • attend regular meetings to monitor progress and regularly be in touch with the wider group of participants
  • attend and actively participate in virtual workshops during the funding period, with at least one at the beginning and one at the end of the funding period
  • attend and actively participate in any other peer learning events
  • produce regular blog posts about the experience of taking part in the peer learning network
  • contribute to the development of any related ODI and Microsoft outputs, such as case studies, blog posts or press releases.

The ODI and Microsoft will provide:

  • funding to the level agreed in the contract
  • additional advice and support as agreed with individual collaborations
  • opportunities for peer networking and knowledge sharing amongst the funded collaborations.

How to apply

Interested parties should submit a costed proposal in English to [email protected], which includes:

  • A short, no more than five-pages, explanation of your collaboration:
    • Overview of the data collaboration, including goals, priorities, current status of development
    • Overview of involved organisations and relevant sectors
    • Description of your data collaboration’s support and training needs (challenges and gaps in the work of your data collaboration that you hope to fill through peer learning), as well as
    • Description of what your data collaboration hopes to bring to the peer learning network (skills, knowledge or experience)
    • A description of the team who will be involved, including biographies and relevant experience, and contact details, as well as indication of support for this work by a named, senior-level champion in the collaboration.

If you have any questions about the tender, please contact [email protected], quoting the tender reference: MS01. The ODI reserves the right to both make anonymised questions and answers public, or share them with other organisations having stated their interest.

Decision criteria

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

  • Alignment with the goals of the network, with the premise of making data as open as possible within the context of the collaboration, and with the ODI’s mission.
  • A clear and well-articulated proposal, indicating what the data collaboration is about and how it would fit into the peer learning network.
  • A clearly articulated intended outcome from your data collaboration’s engagement with the network.
  • Evidence of collaboration, such as letters of support.
  • Demonstrated commitment to publishing outputs and working openly.

We would also like to encourage applications from diverse businesses, as set out in Microsoft’s Supplier Diversity Policy, as well as collaborations committed to addressing challenges faced by disadvantaged or underrepresented groups through their data collaboration.

Questions about the tender

We will update this announcement with public answers to questions received during the tender process.

Who can apply? Any in-development or existing data collaboration, from any region, is encouraged to apply. We are particularly eager to engage with data collaborations that are looking to address questions of managing trust.  

Is this opportunity open to ‘micro businesses’ or is the focus on medium / large business? This opportunity is open to data collaborations, which may include two or more of many types of entities, such as businesses. Businesses that are part of the data collaboration applying to this opportunity can be of any size or type. 

Do data collaborations also include cross-border open data sharing, and do they cover cross-sector (public to private, two-way) sharing? Yes, our definition of data collaborations is broad enough to include various different types of collaborations, including various actors and across various geographies.  

How do you define early stages of development? E.g. Is this call open to early-stage collaboratives that are working through early-stage contextual work to support future data sharing, or are within the concept stage with negotiation between interested partners to form a formal partnership?  The audience for this call is existing data collaborations or new data collaborations around the world, including those in the early stages of their development. This could include collaborations in the ‘concept stage’. If you have specific questions about your collaboration’s eligibility, please contact us at [email protected]

Does this program support existing collaborations or is it only for developing new ones? The program supports existing and new / in-development data collaborations. 

Can you help the applicants reach for possible additional collaborators? We will encourage and facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration between data collaborations selected for this opportunity. We will also provide introductions to relevant people, organisations and groups in the ODI’s and Microsoft’s wider networks. We will also provide some promotional support. 

Do the teams have to be based in the UK? The opportunity is not restricted to the UK; teams do not have to be based in the UK. 

How do I apply? Apply via email, with the required documents to [email protected] by 17 November 2020 at 23:59 PST (in GMT: 18 November 2020 at 07:59 GMT). Please include the following reference in your email subject: MS01

What documentation should I include in my application? The following must be submitted as part of your application package: a written overview of your data collaboration and your interests in applying to this peer learning network (see ‘How to apply’ on the open call webpage for further details). You may also provide letter(s) of support from senior leadership at constituent organisations within the data collaboration and letter(s) of support from existing partners to the constituent organisations. Please note these are considered ‘nice to have’, not a requirement. 

What is a ‘costed proposal’? What do you expect in our costing? The funding provided to the data collaborations will be used to compensate for the time spent by the data collaboration team to engage with the network. As such, we expect information on how much time the team will be able to commit to the network, and how much this represents – this is a costed proposal. Please note that examples of past costed proposals are not available due to confidentiality. 

 Are day rates an acceptable format for the costed proposal? Yes. 

 What is the selection process? Who is involved? 

  • Only applications received by 17 November 2020 at 23:59 PST (in GMT: 18 November 2020 at 07:59 GMT) will be assessed. 
  • All applications will be assessed against the selection criteria listed on the open call webpage
  • Applications will be scored independently by multiple reviewers at the Open Data Institute and Microsoft. 
  • No more than five (5) highest-assessed applicants will be awarded contracts with the peer learning network, in an amount no greater than £20,000. 
  • If any of the five highest-assessed applicants are unable to complete the tendering process, awardees may be selected from the remaining applications. However, the ODI-Microsoft team reserves the right to contract with fewer than five applicants, depending on the outcomes of the assessment process. 

How can the funding be used? The funding provided to the data collaborations will be used to compensate for the time spent by the data collaboration team to engage with the network.  

Does open data sharing mean sharing the raw data by anonymizing the personal data? Increasing access to data can unlock value for our societies and economies. This is one of the core principles of the ODI’s mission to create an open, trustworthy data ecosystem. Increased access to data can foster innovation, enable better services and even save lives. There are, however, many good reasons why data should not be released openly or even shared. This is the case for sensitive data, a category which includes: the kind of personal data deemed ‘special’ by recent regulation; the kind of corporate or state secrets which could create significant harm if revealed; or even information about the whereabouts of members of endangered species. 

Is the focus on this call only on open data? The focus on this call is not only on open data. Some data collaborations involve the publication and use of open data that anyone can access, use, and share. Others involve more targeted data sharing and collaboration between different organisations. Some data collaborations may involve the collection and use of both open and shared datasets, or the sharing of insights derived from confidential data. Applications are open to any data collaboration working to make their data as open as possible in the context of the collaboration; those working within constraints related to privacy or commercial sensitivity are encouraged to apply. If you have specific questions about your collaboration’s eligibility, please contact us at [email protected]

Is this project more interested in data collaborations on sensitive/personal/shared data, or is this open for public procurement data? We are open to considering applications from data collaborations working within a range of contexts, which could include sensitive/personal/shared data and/or public procurement data. 

Will learning activities be open to all members in the collaborative? Or will they be limited to specific people within? The ODI and Microsoft will offer workshops and support that will be open to the 5 selected data collaborations. In order for the support to be beneficial to participants, we may have to limit the number of representatives per data collaboration. 

What will the workshops focus on? The peer learning network will consist of three (3) to five (5) half-day workshops, which will cover a range of topics. In these workshops and in the broader network programme, participants will learn about and receive guidance from the ODI and Microsoft on different technical approaches to address trust between active participants in the collaboration and with stakeholders, such as confidential computing and multiparty machine learning. The ODI and Microsoft may also provide further technical expertise and guidance. 

Will you offer a way for contacting other possible collaborators? We will encourage and facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration between data collaborations selected for this opportunity. We will also provide introductions to relevant people, organisations and groups in the ODI’s and Microsoft’s wider networks. We will also provide some promotional support. 

What kind of benefits are you expecting through such collaboration? The ODI’s work on peer networks aims to develop leadership and knowledge sharing in support of publishing and sharing data principles. We are particularly interested in data collaborations that want to explore issues associated with trust and trustworthiness or that are working to collaborate with data in safe, secure environments. We want to learn more, and to support participants to learn more, about these dynamics. We also want to make these learnings public, to support others in related work. 

With the aim to support open data related knowledge, what will the awardees be required / allowed to share? Would reports and research papers be supported by this project? The main deliverable for each participant in the peer learning network is a short report describing their data collaboration and outlining their experiences in the network, to be delivered and published at the end of the funding period. We also expect participants to produce regular blog posts about the experience of taking part in the peer learning network. Participants will be expected to contribute to the development of any related ODI and Microsoft outputs, such as case studies or blog posts. You can find an overview of these deliverables and other expectations in the recording of our public briefing webinar, available here (in embedded video, view from approximately 21:05). 

I missed the briefing webinar from 29 October. Is it available to re-watch? Yes, it is available at datacollaborations.com or https://vimeo.com/470919453

Who should I contact with further questions? Questions about the application process are welcome and must be submitted via email to [email protected] by 6 November 2020 at 23:59 PST (in GMT: 7 November 2020 at 07:59 GMT). All queries will receive a response by 9 November 2020. Please include the following reference in your email subject line: MS01.