A new PPP aims to accelerate the development of Europe’s data-driven economy by funding research and innovation around the use of Big Data

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The European Commission and Europe’s data industry will invest about €2.5bn in a public-private partnership (PPP) that aims to strengthen Europe’s data sector and put it at the forefront of the global data race.

A Memorandum of Understanding to set up the PPP on Big Data is due to be signed today by European Commission vice-president Neelie Kroes and president of the Big Data Value Association Jan Sundelin, who acts on behalf of companies, including ATOS, Nokia Solutions and Networks, Orange, SAP, SIEMENS and research bodies, such as Fraunhofer and the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence.

The PPP, due to start on 1 January 2015, aims to focus public, private and academic research efforts to support research and innovation in Big Data ideas in fields such as energy, manufacturing and health, to deliver services like personalised medicine, food logistics and predictive analytics, for example.

Kroes said: “Data is the motor and foundation of the future economy. Every kind of organisation needs the building blocks to boost their performance, from farm to factory, from the lab to the shop floor.”

The EU has indicated it will invest more than €500m spread across five years (2016-20), which private partners are expected to match at least four times over (€2bn). The union’s investment will come from its Horizon 2020 programme, which has about €80bn of funding available to encourage innovation and Europe’s global competiveness by 2020.

The PPP will also support “innovation spaces”, which will offer secure environments for experimenting with private and open data. These will also act as business incubators and hubs for the development of skills and best practices, according to the EU.