Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin has announced the establishment of an Open Data Governance Board with Inspirefest 2016 speaker Emer Coleman at its helm.
The Open Data Governance Board will be responsible with advising the Irish Government on a national strategy for its Open Data Initiative, which was launched in July of last year.
Open data in government is about making the data held by public bodies available and easy to access online so that it can be reused and redistributed. The Minister cited the potential of open data to “deliver real economic, social and democtratic benefits across society” in a statement released with the announcement today (23 October).
Nine board members have been appointed following what has been described as an intensive application process. Leading the board as chair is Emer Coleman, an experienced digital leader with a background in both the public and private sector.
Who is Emer Coleman?
A graduate of University College Cork, Coleman left Ireland in 2005 and went on to work on open data and policy in the UK and other countries. She was the architect of the London Datastore, which involved releasing all of London’s public sector data.
She has provided leadership training to organisations such as the Local Government Association, The Leadership Centre for Local Government, PwC Ireland (and their clients), Chinese publishing giant PPMG and The National University of Singapore.
“I’m absolutely delighted that I’ve been asked to chair the board in the company of a group of very able and talented board members,” wrote Coleman in a blog post announcing her new appointment.
“I very much welcome and am excited about the opportunity to be able to bring home the experience that I’ve gained in the field of open data and innovation.”
Who else is on the Open Data Governance Board?
Coleman is joined on the Open Data Governance Board by eight others: three women and five men.
Prof Dietrich Rebholz-Schuhmann, a medical doctor and a computer scientist by training, has had a 20-year scientific career encompassing positions such as a director of research in biotech and principal investigator and group leader roles at the European Bioinformatics Institute and the University of Zürich. He is currently professor of informatics at NUI Galway and director of the Insight Centre for Data Analytics in Galway.
Dr Dennis Jennings was recently inducted into the Internet Society’s Hall of Fame for his internationally recognised work as one of the pioneer’s of the worldwide online network that connects us all today. Dr Jennings has leadership experience in the areas of change management and innovation, primarily with tech start-ups, as well as academic and research experience.
Civic entrepreneur Denis Parfenov is co-founder and director of Open Knowledge Ireland and an Open Knowledge Advisory Council member. He is also the founder of ActiveCitizen, a grassroots initiative which prompted the Government’s commitment to the Open Government Partnership .
Suzanne Duke is director of public policy for Europe at LinkedIn and formerly held the role of head of public policy at Google Ireland. A key part of her job is to partner with governments in harnessing LinkedIn’s data resources to help policymakers better understand and react to their labour markets.
Founder and CEO of Creme Global Cronan McNamara leads a senior management team that accesses, gathers and curates public and private datasets from all over the world and makes them available in their cloud-based analytical models. McNamara also chairs the Irish Software Association in IBEC and recently hosted Dublin’s first Predict conference on data analytics.
Dr Daithí Mac Síthigh is the director of research at Newcastle Law School and his interests lie in both the intersection of law and technology, and public law. He is a member of Create, the centre for copyright and new business models in the UK’s creative economy, which is funded by Research Councils UK.
A recognised leader in the area of open data (and another of Silicon Republic’s Top 100 Women in STEM 2014), Dr Sandra Collins is director of the National Library of Ireland, having previously held the role of director of the Digital Repository of Ireland in the Royal Irish Academy. Here she established and led an ambitious national research centre, developing both policy and e-infrastructure for digital preservation of cultural and social data.
Ashling Cunningham, chief information officer for Ervia (formerly Bord Gáis Éireann), completes the board. She is responsible for information security and data protection in Ervia, as well as developing and implementing data strategy, data quality and data architecture across the organisation.