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The ODI welcomes proposals for research on public–private mobility data sharing in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, with funding to be awarded up to £20,000

Study Focus

The initial response to the Covid-19 pandemic was one of mass collaboration. New networks, initiatives, partnerships and working groups made up of governments, businesses, academia and more were born. Many of these collaborative approaches had data and data sharing at their core. Through our research we have taken a closer look at how mobility data is being collected, used and shared in order to help understand the spread of the pandemic and plan the response to it. There have been a number of collaborative initiatives set up with a focus on mobility.

The primary objective of this work is to explore how mobility data has been shared between organisations in the private and public sectors, during the Covid-19 pandemic. What are the success stories? Where has this failed? What are the barriers? What tangible effects or impacts have there been from sharing, or not sharing, between the public and private sectors? What decision-making has been made possible from these sectors successfully sharing their mobility data?

This study is principally aimed at building a robust and rigorous picture of mobility data sharing between organisations in the public and private sectors, with a focus on case studies that identify examples of:

  • New mobility data sharing between the private and public sector
  • Formalised public–private partnerships established for the purposes of sharing mobility data
  • Impact of data shared between the public and private sectors, such as certain decisions being made
  • Partnerships with the ethical use of data at their core

The successful candidate will work in collaboration with the ODI, who will provide guidance, review and assistance throughout.


At the ODI, we work with companies and governments to build an open, trustworthy data ecosystem.

We are working to build an open future with the aim to create maximum benefit for everyone. It is part of our strategy to work with companies and governments to identify challenges and develop prototypes and tools to address them.

In April 2020, the ODI received funding from Luminate to provide guidance and support to make the data, models and software being used to address the coronavirus pandemic as open as possible, while building and maintaining trust and working towards a future where data works for everyone.

Throughout the research we published a number of blog posts, tools and guides about publishing and using data during the pandemic. This work is a continuation of the mobility data research.

We are now interested in further research looking at examples of public–private sector mobility data sharing, which may include research into examples such as the Covid-19 Data Mobility Network or the EU’s JRC Initiative. Research should be looking at international examples of data sharing, but this invitation to tender does not mandate a specific geography. We welcome your suggestions on the scale and scope of the geography covered by your research.

Research questions

The principal research questions are:

  1. How have public–private collaborations and other similar mechanisms been used as a mechanism to share mobility data during the pandemic?
  2. Have new collaborations lead to tangible impact? Are decisions being made based on data shared through these initiatives?
  3. Have new collaborations been successful? What has made them successful? What have been the barriers to success?
  4. Has the pandemic acted as a catalyst for engagement in public–private sector data sharing and partnerships? Are they likely to continue post-pandemic?
  5. How have public–private collaborations ensured that their collection, use and sharing of data is fair and ethical?

Research methods

Applicants should propose suitable methods as part of the research design phase of this work. We anticipate that this will be mostly qualitative methods.

Summary and timeline

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Terms of payment

50% of the total amount will be invoiced at the end of November 2020, and the remaining 50% will be invoiced on satisfactory completion of the work, including responses to all feedback from the ODI and paid within 30 days.


Research plan:

A broad research plan should be agreed with the ODI detailing the overarching research questions to be analysed, research methods to be used, information for the selection of project outputs.

Research findings output:

We anticipate that the research findings will be delivered through a report or similar summary output, the length and format of which is flexible and can be agreed with the project lead. We are also open to other suggestions for final outputs.

The primary audience/ purpose of the output will be people who are interested in the potential value of establishing cooperation between the public private sector for the purposes of sharing mobility data.. All output will be published by the ODI under an open licence for anyone to see and comment on. Relevant figures or findings may be used in reporting, communications and for future ODI bids.

A draft of the outputs should be submitted to the ODI for comments by 27th November 2020. Feedback from the ODI will be returned by 1st December 2020. A finalised version is to be submitted no later than 15th December 2020.

Expected schedule of deliverables:

  • Finalised research plan 6 November 2020
  • First draft of output 27 November 2020
  • Final output 15 December 2020


Short coordination/progress update meetings will take place on a fortnightly basis with the ODI during the period of activity. These will be via video call for the duration of the work, however there is an expectation that the successful contractor will work closely with the ODI team.

Application requirements

Interested parties should submit an initial research plan (in English) to [email protected] which includes:

  • a short (no more than two pages) explanation of your proposed approach (eg methodology, scope), including why you are well-placed to do the work
  • a CV or bio that outlines your skills and experience
  • the amount of time you expect to commit to the work each week
  • a writing sample of a similar research output

If you have any questions about the opportunity, please contact [email protected] quoting COVID19 MOBILITY. The ODI reserves the right to make both anonymised questions and answers public or shared with other organisations having stated their interest.