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Applications open for Australian Government’s Platforms for Open Data program

The Commonwealth Government in Australia opened up applications for the next round of the Platforms for Open Data (PfOD) program on 1 March.

Under PfOD, which is part of the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA), the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s (CSIRO) Data61, Australia’s leading data innovation group works with Commonwealth entities to deliver high-value, transformative data projects.

The PfOD program is designed to give Commonwealth Government agencies an opportunity to work on Research and Development projects to increase the availability of high-value government datasets, both between government agencies and to the public.

Through a competitive process, Commonwealth entities can submit a project proposal to work with Data61 to improve the way that the Australian Government uses, re-uses and releases government-held data.

Troy McGregor, Agency Project Lead with the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (DIIS), is a past PfOD participant. Troy, with DIIS, wanted to take the paperwork out of regulation and compliance as part of Regulation as a Platform (RaaP).

“Kick-starting a project like this would be difficult without a purpose built forum. I think PfOD provides an ideal conduit for government to conceive, test and chart data driven transformation through incremental and practical outcome based projects,” he said.

Now, RaaP is a proof-of-concept project seeking to design a platform that supports a future ecosystem of digital regulation tools and services.

The PfOD program enables government agencies like DIIS to explore opportunities that make more high-value government data available to more people while preserving privacy.

Any APS (Australian Public Service) employee can submit a proposal by 30 March 2018 by completing the PfOD Project Proposal template and emailing to datapolicy@pmc.gov.au. Successful applicants will work with Data61 during May and June 2018 and the projects will commence from 1 July, 2018.

Applicants must engage with and obtain sponsorship for their proposed project from their agency’s Data Champion. If the agency does not have a Data Champion then sponsorship at the Senior Executive level is sufficient.

The project proposals will be assessed using the following criteria:

  • Project has the potential for significant positive impact for Australia.
  • Project is consistent with NISA and aligned with the Public Data Policy Statement, for example increasing the availability and/or innovative use of high value datasets or services.
  • Project is beyond ‘business as usual’ activities for the submitting Commonwealth entity.
  • Project is developed in consultation with Data61, in terms of project viability and developing scope
  • Project is consistent with Data61 research and strategic objectives

Last month, the Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) opened applications for the data fellowship program by the Australian Government. It targets current employees of the Australian Public Service who are interested in building data skills within their agencies. Up to 10 high-performing data specialists in the Australian Public Service will be selected to develop a solution for a data-related problem or opportunity. The data fellowship is a 3-month full-time placement with no cost to data fellows. Agencies will continue to pay their salaries, superannuation and entitlements, with all travel and accommodation costs reimbursed. 

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