Adam Afriyie (Windsor, Conservative): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps he has taken to encourage growth of the big data industry in the UK; and if he will make a statement.
Mr Edward Vaizey (Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy): The Government has identified big data as one of the ‘eight great technologies’ that will propel the UK’s future economic growth. Since 2010, the Government has made a series of strategic investments to support the growth of the big data industry in the UK. These include:
- a £159 million investment programme in the UK’s high performance computing and networks infrastructure announced in 2011.
- £189 million investment announced in 2012 to support a programme of big data and energy-efficient computing projects across the UK co-ordinated by the Economic and Social Research Council.
- £10.7 million announced in December 2013 to create a new Higgs Centre for Innovation at the UK Astronomy Technology Centre in Edinburgh that will focus on big data and space technologies.
- £42 million announced in March 2014 to establish a world-leading Alan Turing Institute, which will be established in 2015 to research the analysis and application of big data.
- Investment of over £50 million to establish the Digital Catapult, based in London, which will bring researchers and business together to accelerate new innovative products to market.
On 31 October 2013, the Government also published ‘Seizing the Data Opportunity: a strategy for UK data capability’, which examines the UK’s capability to make best use of all data including big data, public sector held data, research data, and data collected by companies. The strategy was developed in partnership with industry to place the UK at the forefront of extracting knowledge and value from data.
Since the publication of the strategy, the Government has introduced new legislation on copyright exceptions in June 2014 to enable text and data-mining for non-commercial purpose, and has developed new UK Trade & Industry marketing material to attract increased overseas investment and custom to the UK data centre market.