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Silicon Valley comes to the UK (AND Southampton) - come to the appathon!

The University of Southampton is one of six universities in the UK which will be hosting this year's 'Silicon Valley comes to the UK' appathon event.

Silicon Valley comes to the UK (SVc2UK), announces a month-long, multi-site competitio. Dubbed the SVc2UK Appathon, the competition supports and encourages university students to use government data to "hack" together innovative consumer applications in Healthcare, Education, and the Environment. This competition allows students to unlock the power of government data to make a positive social impact and to enhance the data's accessibility to peers, parents, and grandparents. This ambitious initiative represents the UK's largest ever mobilisation of students to create apps. We don't know yet what they will create, but we are hoping for a 'good school's guide’ where you can find out where the good schools are near you, a 'good doctor's guide’. where you can find a doctor near you, and a 'clean city guide' where you can find the cleanest city near you - or the dirtiest!

This national ‘coding competition’ helps to address the void that organizers believe exists in most university curricula, creating a real world opportunity for those developers with the ambition, appetite and aptitude to code and build applications that can have real value to users. With support, not only from their peers, but the wider technology community, and a network of mentors, these students will be able to take control of, and enhance, their own education outside of the classroom and make a difference.

Continuing the historic success of SVc2UK, approximately 1,500 students from 15 universities across the UK are expected to be drawn “like magnets” to six UK locations including Cambridge, Edinburgh, Oxford, Sheffield, Southampton and London to take part in the Appathons. Full access to the data and details of participating universities and hosts can be found here.

The SVc2UK Appathons will run during early October and are open to university students across the country. The competition has the full support of Downing Street, which will supply technical guru’s from data.gov.uk. In addition, pretty much the whole technology industry is lending support to the effort. University students who enter the competition have until 23 October to submit their apps to be judged by leading global entrepreneurial icons including Reid Hoffman, Joi Ito and more.

The winners of the SVc2UK Appathon will attend an awards ceremony in November as part of ‘Silicon Valley comes to the UK’ and 9 winners will be invited to take part in a road trip to Silicon Valley followed by the legendary South by Southwest Conference early next year. The Appathon will conclude with winning developers, coming to London, for the finale: a show-and-tell event where the developers will explain and demonstrate their efforts to a selected audience of their peers, politicians, advisers, civil servants, and the press.

Prime Minister David Cameron says: "Silicon Valley comes to the UK is one of the most important inward investment events of the year, bringing leading Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and investors together with British technology companies to spark new connections and investments. As I've said before, I am committed to making the UK the best place in the world to start, run and grow a high tech company. That's why we have introduced more generous tax breaks for early stage investment, accepted the recommendations of the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property, launched the Entrepreneur Visa, as well as a host of other policy changes. A key part of this technology agenda is our commitment to open data. Over the past 18 months we have set a huge amount of government data free, and we are committed to going even further in the months ahead.

"I warmly welcome the news that Silicon Valley comes to the UK is organising a competition to reward the creative use of government data. This type of innovation can produce new applications and services that generate significant social and economic benefits, and I'm looking forward to seeing the entries sent in by coders across the UK."

Professor Nigel Shadbolt of ECS-Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton, and co-founder of data.gov.uk and Transparency Board Member, comments: "One of the reasons we make Government Data openly available is to create the conditions for innovation. I have no doubt that this programme of events will see remarkable applications emerge - applications that will showcase not just our data but the talent of our students."

University students have until 23 October to show what they can do, but applications to attend an appathon (including the Southampton event, hosted by ECS), are open now and developers can start coding.

Apply to participate in one of the SVC2UK appathons - including Southampton!

This is the first time that Southampton has taken part in this annual competition. The Southampton appathon for Silicon Valley comes to the UK takes place on Saturday and Sunday 15 and 16 October, and will be hosted by ECS-Electronics and Computer Science in the Zepler and Mountbatten Buildings on the Highfield Campus.

Chris Gutteridge is a member of the organizing committee: "We are expecting a really lively event", he says, "and we know that there are a lot of people on campus who are already working with open data and creating apps - we are looking forward to meeting you all at our Appathon! But the event is open to everyone who is keen to see the value of open data and to work on ways that it can be used to create really valuable information." A team of mentors will also be on hand to provide advice and support to all the teams.

Sign up for the Southampton event on 15 and 16 October.

For further information contact Chris Gutteridge (Appathon organization) or Joyce Lewis (media).

Posted by Joyce K Lewis on 30 Sep 2011.