Competition heating up in the OpenDataNI Challenge

November 10, 2016


Launched on 14th June 2016, the “OpenDataNI Challenge – Using Open Data for Education” (jointly funded by the Department of Finance and the Department for the Economy on behalf of the NI Digital Catapult, and supported by Ulster University, CCEA, ODI Belfast, NI Digital Catapult and Catalyst Inc.) has now reached an exciting stage.  We are waiting to hear which two entries will progress to be developed into teaching resources for use in Northern Ireland’s primary and/or secondary schools.


By close of the entry criteria i.e. 5pm on Wednesday 28th September 2016, the competition had attracted a very high standard of applications, numbering 15 in total.


With the entries displaying a high degree of innovation and so significant potential for development into valuable teaching resources, the stage 1 judging panel team faced the challenge of selecting six projects to progress to the next stage of competition; but face it they did and the six short-listed candidates were announced in the 24th October 2016 press release “Digital innovators rise to open data challenge”.


The six successful entrants are:

  • Rose Kane Quinn (along with Aidan McCormick, Eamonn McNicholl and Kevin Broom) - Neueda Consulting
  • Martin Naughton - Mntech
  • John Hewitt – Geolytical (along with Jenifer McBratney)
  • Lorraine Barry - Queens University (independent application)
  • Fabian Campbell-West - Maverick Inc.
  • Phil Weir - Flax & Teal Limited


Each of the short-listed entries draw upon at least one dataset sourced from OpenDataNI, and the resulting applications relate to a wide range of topics including (in no particular order):


  • To help encourage the reduction of waste;
  • Management of data, specifically databases;
  • Understanding the implications of natural disasters;
  • Food poverty and good nutrition;
  • Reasoning, numerical analysis and decision making relating to STEM subjects; and
  • Environmental awareness, biodiversity and healthy living.

By virtue of their success in making it through to the next stage, these six entrants have been given approximately five weeks in which to develop a prototype of their solution and to help them do so, they each have been awarded £2,500.


The competition now goes up a gear, as the developed prototypes are soon to be presented to a selection panel of education and innovation specialists. The two applications adjudged by the panel to have best met the competition’s criteria shall each be awarded a further £20,000 with which to develop their prototype to full readiness for use in Northern Ireland’s primary and/or secondary schools. They will have 15 weeks in which to do so. The successful applications shall be available for use in schools for a minimum three year period.


Congratulations to all six, as we keenly await word of which projects shall feature in the school-rooms of tomorrow!