In October 2016 I had the pleasure to attend the iKnow-the Data-Driven Future Conference in Graz, and to witness an excellent project come to life: the European Network of National Big Data Centers of Excellence.
Each of these centers alone can only cover a small part of the whole Big Data picture, but together their competences can define the data-driven Future of Europe.
The main focus of the Center of Excellence (CoE) Network will be research topics, and how they can be transferred into relevant industries.
The initiators of this bold initiative already decided on the next steps: collect best practices and key achievements of each center, define big challenges, meet on regular basis, and align with other European initiatives.
Data skills matter
Some of the particular themes discussed at the conference were data skills and education needed for Europe's Digital Transformation. This is one of the hottest topics in the big data community. The new Network plans to identify synergies for educational collaboration.
In this context I have found a really insightful paper about Nurturing Data Skills to support Europe’s Digital Transformation. It contains 4 stories of European companies engaged in digital transformation. These different businesses face the same problem: how to cope with the fast-growing needs of digital skills? The paper shows concrete solutions put forward by these 4 companies.
If you are struggling with the same problem, more help is at hand, via the European funded project European Data Science Academy (EDSA). The project helps people to develop the needed data skills, designs curricula for data science training and provides courses and training material like Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for self-study.
Digital Skills is only one field where collaboration between Europe’s Big Data Centers can bring benefits to the economy and society.
The necessary condition is that every player is on board. 30 Big Data Centers of Excellence in Europe have already enrolled. But there are still some that have not joined yet.
If you are a Big Data National Center of Excellence I urge you to join the Network. The next discussion round of the network is held at BDVA Valencia Summit 2016.