The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has allocated six $100,000 grants to projects for the purpose of "increasing interoperability of social good data." The grants mark the first time the foundation has made data an element in its Grand Challenges.
Among the grants' recipients are NetHope, a U.S. nonprofit that aims to improve information management following a natural disaster, and Development Initiatives Poverty Research, a U.K. nonprofit striving to devise an open-resource toolkit to create interoperable datasets for ending poverty.
Also receiving a grant is a University of Michigan research team led by professor H.V. Jagadish, who is developing tools to link incompatible data sets. Jagadish says improving policymakers' decisions is the goal of his project, and he plans to employ data available through the data.gov clearinghouse to develop a prototype to show that his effort can generate meaningful ways to compare public data, and to make queries such as "Does better primary school education lower crime rates?"
The Gates Foundation's Victoria Vrana says the overriding goal of the grants is to have foundations, nonprofit leaders, and citizens more informed by data in what they fund and how they do their work by combining people's observations with thorough analysis.
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