[okfn-coord] Fwd: notes from Open Innovation meeting (JISC call)

Jo Walsh jo at frot.org
Sun Mar 28 16:58:34 UTC 2010

dear all,

I'd like to take a sounding on this, if anyone has time to think about 
it before tomorrow. In short, OKF has been encouraged by JISC to apply 
for its recent "Open Innovation" call, but needs an academic partner.
I put out feelers in Edinburgh and ended up in a meeting about text 
mining research publications and researcher profiles, see below.

The University has an internal deadline of Monday/Tuesday as only one 
proposal can go to this call. It's an interesting project but somewhat 
vague in its aims. The outcome would be a "demonstrator". OKF could join 
the proposal, but we would be bolted-on, it would take a bit of lateral 
thinking to make it "ours".

Alternative would be to look for another academic partner, JISC could 
broker this, but the deadline is 19th April which is tight, and I am 
already committed to another JISC application so wouldn't be able to 
help much.

PMR wrote "Anything that helps strengthen the OKF is good and the 
branding may be as important as the cash.". And of course the call is 
likely to be 10 or 20 to one oversubscribed.

Any reflections on this would be much appreciated - I have to let them 
know first thing tomorrow, really.


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: notes from Open Innovation meeting (JISC call)
Date: Fri, 26 Mar 2010 23:00:40 +0000
From: Jo Walsh <jo at frot.org>
To: Rufus Pollock <rufus.pollock at okfn.org>,  Jonathan Gray 
<jonathan.gray at okfn.org>
CC: Benjamin O'Steen <bosteen at gmail.com>,  Peter Murray-Rust 
<pm286 at cam.ac.uk>, Nicola Osborne <nicola.osborne at ed.ac.uk>

dear all,

Went to a meeting this afternoon to discuss possible approach to JISC
call 01/10 (open innovation/access to resources)

Meeting with an eye to applying to the Open Innovation (business and
community engagement) strand B of 01/10 JISC call. Problem that ERI, the
Edinburgh Research and Innovation office, is restricting the University
to one proposal. A one-page pitch has to be in by Monday/Tuesday.

Fun mix of people - Andy Lawrence, astronomer from Virtual Observatory
project, Philip Hunter, manager of Edinburgh Research Archive
publications repository, Kate Byrne from Language Technology Group,
Colin Adams, the Informatics Director of Commercialisation, plus Michael
Fourman and colleague John Lee from IDEA Lab. Not in attendance but
connected, James Toon of the ERIS repository network and Simon Bains
from Edinburgh Digital Library.

This group has met before, searching for a cause, there are several
small funded collaborations between its members. There's *something*
waiting to happen - text mining publications archive, connecting it to
data archive, mapping research networks, reuse of "knowledge assets".

I said OKF had been approached in a nonspecific way by JISC to
participate in the call, we were scouting for an interesting project for
Ben to get involved with, I'd pinged Michael to ask who else was looking
at this call around U.Edin.

There's mutual confusion about the rhetoric of the JISC call - vague
aspirational language - it's not clear what is wanted, apart from
material that will support JISC's own "impact statement"

The key phrases near the end of the meeting for me were:

"We do not do a good job of exposing this to non-academics"
"If you could automate that, you could change the world".

Bear in mind this is for a total pot of max 100K, out of which take FEC
(overhead in the current academic financial accounting ideology) to
leave max 60-70K. A "demonstrator" is all that is req'd by the call.

By the end I was wondering about a local version of
http://www.globalideasbank.org/ - say a localideasbank - trying to
expose research to a wider world interested in the results (and prepared
to participate or fund). Text mining of person, organisation, project,
location references from the publications archive and from department
and group pages, getting RDFa embedded where poss. A thrash at
auto-summarisation with a "simplify this" button.,

I wonder how meaningfully OKF could be involved in this group.
We'd be a pleasant window-dressing, dissemination and consultation etc.

But i saw no-one jumping up to do software development work and it's
also uncertain where the project management lead would sit. Virtual
Observatory have a grails-based platform that they would like to take
further. The publications and data archives are both DSpace-based.

Perhaps OKF's involvement stands or falls on whether Ben is interested
in working on "boring old repositories" for one more cycle.

So by Monday morning everyone in that meeting should send an email with
either a paragraph or two on how they could be involved, or a polite
note saying thanks but no thanks.

Mon/Tues is the internal deadline and April 19th is the JISC deadline.
Much work in terms of proposal preparation - ERI would help, but getting
that help mean extra planning overhead. Someone to speak
fluent JISC. If this proposal were to a) gel and b) make it through the
ERI selection process, then the main risk would be getting the final
application to JISC together in time.

You should see my graph/map of JISC calls 14/09, 02/10, and 01/10. It is
not pretty. The system sucks. Uncertain that I will have much time to
work on putting this proposal together.

cheers, (apols for late-night rambling, no time to send this tomorrow)


Virtual Observatory PR:

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