Big Data Centres of Excellence

HomeSkillsBig Data Centres of Excellence

The BDV PPP is furthering the development of the European data ecosystems as a data-driven economy. One key action is the work to support a network of Big Data Centres of Excellence to foster collaboration, share best practices and know-how among centres, facilitate meetings of the network participants and provide expert guidance and support for the establishment of new centres of excellence in Europe.

“A Centre of Excellence is an organisational unit within a national system of research and education that provides leadership in research, innovation and training for Big Data technologies.”


Call to Action

– Are you a Big Data Centre of Excellence and want to share your best practices?
– Are you a senior manager or director of a Big Data Centre of Excellence and want to be interviewed?
– Are you a new Big Data Centre of Excellence or you know of any that seeks support?

Please do not hesitate to contact Edward Curry at


Featured Big Data Centre of Excellence

We have examined several Centres of Excellence to discover their successes, challenges and their best practices. The current featured Centre is:

Insight Centre for Data Analytics, Ireland: An institution that runs under four co-led universities (University College Dublin (UCD), National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG), University College Cork (UCC) and Dublin City University (DCU)). It operates under the Irish industry with a good number of start-ups, but it is dominated by four sectors, that is Pharmaceuticals, Food, Computing and Chemicals.


Persons of Excellence

We conduct interviews with a wide range of experts within the Centres of Excellence, from the top executives and academic leadership involved in daily operations, management decisions and strategic decidion-making processes to specialists in areas such as academic-industry collaborations.


Featured Interview

Oliver Daniels, CEO 2014-2019, Insight Centre for Data Analytics, Ireland.

You can read the full interview here.


Supporting New Big Data Centres of Excellence

A key goal of our activities is to support new Centres of Excellence in Big Data through the use of our best practice framework.


How can then the Big Data Centre of Excellence framework be used to facilitate a new centre, especially in regions like Eastern Europe? We supported an aspiring new centre in Sofia to answer this question. The framework was shared with the first dedicated Big Data Centre of Excellence in Bulgaria that would make it the first dedicated Big Data centre in Eastern Europe. Through a series of workshops, we worked with GATE to leverage the best practices identified in our framework and to customise them to their specific context.

The new centre is supported by the “GATE – Big Data for Smart Society” project, which is funded by Horizon 2020 WIDESPREAD Teaming programme, as well as the Bulgarian government and it involves partners from Sofia University (Bulgaria), Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden) and Chalmers Industriteknik (Sweden). GATE’s goal is to create a sustainable plan for a Big Data Centre that will gain the necessary European and National funding for the establishment of the Centre of Excellence. We were delighted to know that our support contributed to the success of the project that received the “green light” for funding from the European Commission and it will make Bulgaria a key player in Big Data in the future.

If you have recently established (or are thinking of establishing) a new Big Data Centre of Excellence, please get in touch at


Big Data Centre of Excellence Best Practice Framework

A best practice framework for Big Data Centres of Excellence has been developed through an extensive survey of existing Centres of Excellence in Europe, identification of their challenges and opportunities, as well as their best practices and guidelines. The framework was later enhanced by the interviews of the case studies presented above, and the feedback received. The resulting framework is illustrated below:




The structure gathers best practices for the management and operation of a Big Data Value Centre of Excellence. The best practice framework models a centre using open systems theory that comprises input (environment), transformation (Centre of Excellence) and output (impact). The core model is affected by external forces including companies surrounding a Big Data Value Centre of Excellence (Industry), laws and regulations of research activities and use of data at national and European level (Policy) and human development (Societal). The internal operation of the centre is conceptualised as a set of high-level capabilities clustered around marginal practices including strategy, governance, structure, funding, and people & culture. The core capabilities of the centre include Business Development, Collaboration, Research Support Services, Technical Infrastructure, Experimentation / Demonstration Platforms, IP and Data Protection, Education and Public Engagement, Policy Outreach, Technology and Knowledge Transfer, Performance and Impact Assessment. The core model captures impacts produced by a centre regarding commerce, employment, or incomes generated from big data research (Economic), the creation of novel ideas and technological improvement (Scientific) and technological awareness, as well as advancement societal aspects (Societal).

Network of Big Data Centres of Excellence in Europe

A network of Big Data Centres of Excellence in Europe is paramount for creating strong collaborations that result in the sharing of best practices and know-how among existing Big Data Centres of Excellence. The network collaborates on topics including capacity building, educational programmes, centre governance, models for industrial collaboration, national data ecosystem development, and critical technical issues. It was founded by Know-Centre and Berlin Big Data Centre (BBDC), and it is run with an extended core group including INSIGHT, IMEC, RISE and Big Data CoE Barcelona.