Blue bridge structure steel

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Sharing engineering data for the public good

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Funded by the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, this project aims to develop a movement within the engineering sector that will lead to the sharing and use of data for the public good, with a particular focus on improving safety

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Sharing engineering data for the public good: why is it important?

Better access to data can help organisations make more informed decisions.

For the engineering sector, an increase in data sharing will help to build a global ‘safety evidence base’ that will generate insights to improve decision making around policies, practice and investments – and ultimately – inform the public’s understanding of risk.

Our approach

We are engaging with stakeholders to develop a shared vision around better use of data. These include the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Health and Safety Executive, The Alan Turing Institute and Cambridge University Press, among others.

We are exploring the opportunities and barriers around data sharing and co-developing a ‘theory of change’ to encourage more open approaches to sharing data. In May 2019 we hosted a public event to help to articulate and explore our shared vision.

Manifesto and report

On 10 October 2019, the ODI and Lloyd’s Register Foundation published a manifesto and report, encouraging organisations to use, publish and share data to increase safety within the sector.

Find out more about the report and manifesto here.

Stimulus fund projects

Our stimulus fund has supported projects that aim to increase access to and use of data across the engineering, construction and transport sectors, with an emphasis on increasing safety.

There are over 1.1 million households in England on the social housing waiting list, even though there is enough brownfield land to build an estimated 1 million homes.

Engineering and design consultancy company Atkins have been identify how well currently open datasets can support developing insights into contamination of brownfield sites

As an island nation, the UK sees numerous coastal incidents and emergencies every year. In 2019, Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) lifeguards responded to 17,356 incidents near the shore and lifeboat crews launched 8,941 times to respond to incidents further out at sea.

The Open Marine Data project is supporting emergency responders to improve access to the data that they collect, to enable innovators to create new tools and approaches and to support emergency responders to make better decisions.

Understanding how our cities are operating in real time can play an important role in helping us to solve some of society’s biggest challenges.

The ‘Breathing City’ project – an initiative led by Slingshot Simulations – aims to demonstrate how open data can be used to create a digital representation of a city, which can provide valuable insights about the impact of pollution, and help decision makers to improve the wellbeing and safety of city populations.

A third of construction practitioners (approximately 1 million people) do not have easy access to all the knowledge they need to do their job. The number one barrier to accessing knowledge is not being aware of what knowledge is available.

There is a need for quick and straightforward access to knowledge on demand.
Barbal is creating open standards for data to create a shared way of publishing construction knowledge so that construction knowledge becomes discoverable.

Get in touch

Read more about our work in this area

Event: Sharing engineering data for the public good: why is it important?

On 7 May 2019, the ODI, Lloyd’s Register Foundation and the Royal Academy of Engineering hosted a discussion about the challenges and opportunities around sharing engineering data to drive innovation and increase safety. The event brought together people and organisations from across the engineering sector to discuss why sharing data is integral to creating a safer world for everyone. View the event video below.


Our research in this area

Find out about, Insight report on sharing engineering data, which outlines a vision for the future; identifies some of the challenges and opportunities around increasing access to data; and summarises experiences from other sectors. The manifesto identifies some key principles and recommendations to encourage change across the sector.

As part of our project with the Lloyd’s Register Foundation, we convened people from across the engineering sector to develop a shared vision and approach to publishing and using engineering data for the public good. Read our blog post How do we encourage the sharing of data to increase safety?

ODI Fridays: Will Safetytech save lives?

On Friday 24 May, as part of our ODI Fridays programme, Safety Accelerator Manager, Serena Connor, shared highlights and learnings from pilot projects aimed at preventing critical operational failures, reducing human errors and saving lives across energy, transport and food industries. Read more here Will Safetytech save lives?.