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COVID-19 pandemic and the ODI

Wed Mar 18, 2020
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Like many businesses, at the ODI we are working on our response to the pandemic and of course, the safety and wellbeing of our staff, partners and members is paramount

Like many businesses, at the ODI we are working on our response to the pandemic and of course, the safety and wellbeing of our staff, partners and members is paramount

In recent days we’ve introduced a working-from-home policy and decided to run more of our courses and events online. We don’t know how long the pandemic will last but we are adhering strictly to government guidelines around social distancing and hygiene. We have asked our team to move to virtual meetings and for the safety of all, we have decided to close our office in Shoreditch until further notice. If you were planning on visiting us, or would like to talk to us about the different tools we are offering for meetings and calls, please email

Our work

At the ODI, we believe that an open, trustworthy data ecosystem is more essential in a crisis than at any other time. Data has the potential to help us to understand the progress of viruses; for example, it can enable us to stop them spreading by developing and sharing safe hygiene practices and can mitigate the effects of social isolation and economic hardship. We are already working with a number of organisations, exploring how our skills and expertise can help everyone to navigate their way through the current crisis. If you would like to talk to us about this work, please get in touch via

Our commitment

The ODI manifesto sets out our commitment to the safe, ethical and equitable use of data. This is even more important now than ever. Our CEO, Jeni called this week for data and models relating to COVID-19 to be made open, to enable greater understanding of the science behind government policy, and to encourage innovation in order to tackle it. We are also participating in #DATA4COVID19 – a call for action to build an infrastructure for data-driven pandemic responses. If you are interested in talking to Jeni or other ODI experts about our COVID-19 work, please get in touch with

Projects and programmes

Our ODI programmes and projects will continue as before. While our bricks-and-mortar office is quieter than usual, and we are embracing more remote working practices, we still have important work to do.

We’re no stranger to working remotely. We have routinely worked with organisations around the world since we were founded. For example, at the moment, with our partner CABI, we are delivering advice and support to the Gates Foundation in the US and programmes they are funding in Ethiopia and India. We are also working with the Wellcome Foundation to explore how innovation in health data, in the UK and Africa can benefit everyone.

At home, we are continuing our work with Sport England to build OpenActive, making more data about sport and physical activity open so that people can get fit and healthy. We are collaborating with Health Data Research UK as a partner in the INSIGHT Health Data Research Hub, exploring how safe and trustworthy access to eye scan data can help tackle eye diseases. Our R&D programme is continuing with new case studies showing the value of data across the spectrum to the private sector.

We’re already adapting some of our training courses for remote delivery. You can now sign up to the new online version of our Open Data in a Day course, and shortly, we’ll be offering online options for our ethics workshop. But, like everyone, we know we have more to learn. We’ve openly shared the list of resources we’ve been reading and tools we’ve been testing. Please add your suggestions.


Our ever popular ODI Fridays lunchtime lectures will continue although the format is changing. This week (ending 20/03/2020), you can join an Online ODI Fridays lecture with our DoxBox Trustbot artist, Alistair Gentry. The best way to keep up to date about all our events, blogs, podcasts and whimsy is by signing up to our Week in Data newsletter.

Each year, we hold our landmark annual ODI Summit. This year our theme is Data | Future. We’ll be publishing more details in the weeks and months to come, including offering discounts on tickets and developing content in liaison with our event sponsors. For more information, please contact