The National Technical Information Service wants your ideas for using data in innovative ways.
NTIS released a notice Wednesday asking for proposals to help federal agencies “collect, connect, access, analyze, or use Federal data and data services.”
This comes after Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker announced last year that NTIS was headed in a new direction by refocusing its efforts on data.
NTIS had to pivot drastically after congressional efforts to shutter it in recent years. NTIS was created to be an information repository. But Google and other technological advances rendered its initial mission irrelevant.
“If any current projects do not align well with NTIS’s new data role, a transition plan will be created and shared with relevant stakeholders prior to a phase-out of those services,” according to the 2015 statement announcing NTIS’s new direction.
Now, NTIS is focused on brokering deals between the private and public sectors to use data in new ways.
Companies, who would be joint venture partners with NTIS, must submit proposals that address how revenue sharing would work. The services developed would be available only for federal agency customers.
“We hope a wide range of companies and not-for-profit organizations with data expertise will send in proposals for this opportunity,” an NTIS spokesperson told FedScoop in an email. “We are specifically looking for organizations with highly specialized data science skills, including areas like interoperability, analytics, big data, etc.”
The initiative is best suited to “projects that require fast execution and innovative technologies and are not amenable to typical contracts or available commercial solutions,” the spokesperson said.
Another focus: smart cities.
“We also hope, for example, to be able to work through the [joint venture partnership] effort with agencies to help localities and communities on smart cities initiatives that use better data to improve public services,” the spokesperson said.
The Commerce Department as a whole is working to improve their data services and foster innovation, with programs like the Commerce Data Academy, created by the department’s internal data projects group, the Commerce Data Service.
NTIS will continue to collaborate with the CDS, the NTIS spokesperson said, but its missions are distinct.
The focus of NTIS will be on partnering with the Commerce Department and other agencies that want to work with the private sector, while CDS normally provides “leadership and in-house expertise to DOC agencies on agency data topics.”
Another difference: “NTIS will also be working specifically on high value data solutions that can attract sufficient funding or service fees to warrant the interest of commercial partners,” the spokesperson said.
The proposals are due by Aug. 1.