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OpenTechResponse launches to aid fight against disasters

OpenTechResponse has this month launched a new matchmaking tool that brings together volunteers and projects that want to help improve responses to global issues and crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. By linking together those with the right skills (technical or otherwise) to projects that need support, OpenTechResponse makes volunteering more effective and reduces wasted effort and duplication.

OpenTechResponse is looking for COVID-19 response projects that require support to find volunteers, and volunteers who would like to find projects to contribute to as it launches. Volunteers with skills in design, hardware, open source software, and project management can use the service to find projects that fit their skill sets.

The OpenTechResponse project was founded by several communities including the open technology organisation OpenUK, and the John Hopkins startup Mosslabs.io, and is supported by the open source support and funding matchmaking service OpenTeams, working with a network of open source and technology volunteers.

OpenTechResponse provides a range of channels and ways to find support or volunteer. From informal discussions and recommendations via social platforms through to a formal matchmaking tool and data service, OpenTechResponse aims to assist nonprofits and projects find the help they need and respond to crises. This mix of approaches supports projects across all stages of their development.

“Our aim is to provide the fastest and smartest way to link those with skills to projects that need them. The response we have already seen around COVID-19 is huge, and we want to help make that effort and passion go as far as possible,” commented David Charboneau, Chief Technology Officer at OpenTeams. “Alongside the volunteers that are already starting up their projects with OpenTechResponse, we are looking for more projects and volunteers to join us.”

“When I saw what was going on around COVID-19, I knew I wanted to help. However, I also knew that whatever we built in response to COVID-19 should be reusable for future crises and that using an open source collaborative approach is the only way to make this work for everyone in these difficult circumstances,” added Amanda Brock, CEO at OpenUK. “The open mindset is essential for everyone to make the most of their skills and opportunities.”

Patrick McFadin, Vice President Developer Relations at DataStax, has contributed his support to the project as well. “What’s important here is how we get a critical mass of people with skills around data, around hardware, around design, around the intricacies of projects together. With all this brainpower available, we can help solve some of the biggest problems that exist and make this available to the whole community, not just for the current crisis, but creating a framework for future needs as well. It’s great to be involved in this and to see how open source can deliver,” he added.

One initial user of OpenTechResponse is a team at the University of Bath receiving support around distributed hardware development and open standards projects. Those providing assistance through the OpenTechResponse service include participants from NASA, the Open Data Institute, CERN and OpenUK.

For more information please visit: https://opentechresponse.com/