The University of Southampton

Open data leader honoured in Beijing Study UK Alumni Awards

Published: 10 January 2020
University of Southampton alumnus Dr Feng Gao

University of Southampton alumnus Dr Feng Gao has been praised for international leadership in open data at the British Council's Study UK Alumni Awards 2019-20 in Beijing.

Feng has co-founded and directed China's first social enterprise addressing the issue of transparent and open data flow in the five years since completing a PhD in Computer Science at Southampton.

The Open Data China challenge model has led to the release of more than 60 data resources from more than 30 government agencies and enterprises, generating more than 1,000 products, prototypes and entrepreneurial teams with a total value of more than 100 million yuan.

Feng was named the winner of the Professional Achievement Award at last month's ceremony in the Chinese capital, joining previous winners who have distinguished themselves through exemplary leadership in their professional field.

I am honoured to be recognised by the British Council and feel rewarded and motivated to continue what I'm doing, Feng says. My time spent in Southampton was unforgettable and equipped me with the academic skills and attitude to succeed in life. I highly appreciate the fact that Southampton is one of the UK's leading institutes for open data and this led me to work on the issue once I returned to China.

China is facing new opportunities and challenges in embracing the digital economy and one of the contributions Open Data China is looking to make is to help design better data policy and interventions that build an ecosystem to support this exciting agenda.

Feng explored people's food beliefs to design health eating applications during his PhD with Professor m.c. schraefel in Electronics and Computer Sciences Agents, Interaction and Complexity Research Group.

His subsequent publications and talks on open data have been featured globally by media and at conferences. In 2019, he was also named a Yale World Fellow and won China's first 30 New Generation Digital Economy Talents award.

Now in its sixth year, the British Council's Study UK Alumni Awards 2019-20 recognised nine UK alumni in China for excellence as business professionals, entrepreneurs and community leaders.

Matt Burney, Country Director at the British Council in China, said: The Alumni Awards allow us to come together to celebrate to the role international students play in making the UK one of the most diverse, dynamic and rewarding higher education destinations for international study. It also allows us to recognise the achievements and contributions of alumni from China and the world have made to their communities.

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