Editor’s Note: This story was updated Sept. 16 to reflect comment from NSF.
The National Science Foundation is planning to develop a national network of big data regional innovation hubs.
Last week, NSF released a notice in the Federal Register requesting input from academia, industry, state and local government and all throughout the big data ecosystem in its investigation into forming the regional hubs. The agency believes these hubs could help accelerate the Big Data Research and Development Initiative introduced by President Obama in 2012.
“These Hubs will help to continue and scale up the kinds of activities and partnerships established by National Big Data R&D Initiative over the past 3 years as well as stimulate, track, and help sustain new regional and grassroots partnerships around Big Data,” the notice said.
Specifically, the hubs will fill roles like bringing stakeholders together to accelerate big data innovation; matching community, government, industry and academia for pilot programs; coordinating and encouraging dialogue among the hubs; increasing the sharing of technology; engaging thought leaders in the big data community; and educating and training the big data workforce.
“While some activities and organizations currently exist that exemplify the kind of coordination envisioned for the Regional Innovation hubs, there does not yet exist a network for these organizations to communicate best practices and share resources,” said Fen Zhao, a policy fellow with NSF. “In addition to the new partnerships they will coordinate, Regional Innovation Hubs will help form a national network that can help sustain and expand Big Data innovation in the future.”
After witnessing the successful collaboration surrounding big data at last November’s White House-sponsored Data to Knowledge to Action, NSF hopes these hubs, central locations among participating stakeholders, will continue driving the same momentum and excitement behind big data.
NSF anticipates it will hold a workshop bringing together big data stakeholders in 2015 to further explore the possibility of big data innovation hubs.