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Too Much Data, Not Enough Power to Analyse... That was the motto of the TAFTIE Annual Conference, which took place in Prague on Friday, 16 June 2017. More than 110 experts from the Czech Republic, 29 member organizations of the TAFTIE innovation agencies network and guests from several continents met in the Czernin Palace to discuss the opportunities but also risks that big data bring to research and innovation, but also society in general..


From left to right: Martin Bunček (TA ČR), Marcel Kraus (TA ČR), Risto Setälä (Tekes), Petr Očko (TA ČR), Václav Kolaja (MZV), Andres Ubierna (CDTI)

The conference was opened by Deputy Minister Václav Kolaja, who emphasized the increasing importance of research and new research methods in fulfilling the objectives of Czech foreign policy, especially economic diplomacy. Also in connection with the growing trend of using big data in creating new technologies and innovative solutions, Deputy Minister Kolaja highlighted the need to enhance data security. According to him, TAFTIE provides the ideal environment for sharing experience and jointly discovering new practice in the implementation of national and international technology programmes.

In the first part of the conference, Risto Setälä from the Finnish agency Tekes and Andres Ubierna of the Spanish agency CDTI spoke about data access, collection, collaboration with national statistical office and tax administration, storage and the limited capacity for handling the exponential growth of data volumes. Andres Ubierna stressed that it was necessary to retrieve data from sources and use it in a clever way, so it is more important to ask good questions than get detailed answers. The presentation made by Martin Bunček from the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic (TA CR) focused on the correct use of data for the preparation of programmes to support R&D and their implementation. At the end of his speech, he said to those present: “Start with little steps and do not discuss it too much”. “I wish we could share data with other providers, but also with the Czech Statistical Office and the tax administration, like in Finland or partly in Spain,” added Martin Bunček.

The second part of the annual conference continued to reflect the 3O concept - open innovation, open science and openness to the world. As Kurt Vandenberg of the European Commission recalled in his video message, open and rapid sharing of data will allow us, for example, to monitor illegal oil transport or to save lives, for example, in treating the Zika virus. “The theme these days is not to publish as much as possible, but to share data as quickly as possible,” said Kurt Vanderberghe. The USA is the world leader in data processing, just like it was in air transport in the 1960s. Should Europe not join forces and create an “Airbus” for European big data?

What can well-processed big data bring to society? As demonstrated by Evgeny Klochikhin of the American Institutes for Research, they can help solve food safety, Martin Hájek presented the benefits of the RODOS project, for example, to solve extreme traffic calamities. Ruth Friedel from Israel focused on the sensitive issue of data security.

Petr Očko, Chairman of the TA Czech Republic and the President of TAFTIE for 2017, said in summary, “Big data, their correct use and a reliable infrastructure for their processing are an extraordinary challenge for research and development,”.