XCM_Data_InnovationA new report finds the UK to be one of the most innovative countries in Europe for making the most of data.

According to the Centre for Data Innovation, innovative use of data such as using it to make cities safer or applying it to healthcare, contributed €300bn to the region’s economy, or around two per cent of the UK’s GDP.

Based on more than 30 different indicators such as skills, policy and data-driven technologies in industry, the UK was ranked the fifth best country within Europe.

Despite falling behind Denmark, Finland, Netherlands and Sweden in the ranking, the UK was ahead of some of Europe’s biggest economies such as France and Germany.

UK data company’s revenues are an excellent indication of a healthy data economy, and for the UK they were found to be the highest of any of the 28 EU member states – at €14.6bn.

When it comes to making government datasets open, the report also found the UK to be well ahead of other countries.

Daniel Castro, the Centre for Data Innovations director said “Supporting data innovation can help countries grow their domestic economies, improve the lives of their citizens, and maximise their competitive advantage in Europe and internationally. But countries need strong national leadership and the right public policies to realise the full benefits of data innovation,”

It was found that the key to enabling data innovation to thrive was to make the supply and flow of data free via open data initiatives and freedom of information, and avoiding laws that restricted this. Promoting data skills among the public, and data infrastructure such as broadband, smart cities and digital public services were also important in enabling data innovation.

Even though the UK is set to leave the EU in March 2019, the government has mentioned how it will largely adopt the new rules on data that will come into force with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018.

The UK played an important role in the creation of the GDPR and one of the biggest potential issues of Brexit on the minds of the tech industry is the free flow of data. An agreement in which UK laws are recognised by the EU is trying to be made according to several Brexit position papers published over the summer.

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