What is the Thomson Reuters Data Prize?

The Thomson Reuters Data Prize is a $10,000 prize awarded to a team or teams for which an innovative use of data is core to their business.

The Thomson Reuters Data Prize is part of the MIT $100K Business Plan Contest, but is separate from the competition for the grand prize of $100,000. This used to be called the “Linked Data Prize,” but was renamed in 2012 to encourage a broader use of data in innovative businesses. The Data Prize was created to encourage the use of Big Data, Linked Data, and other innovative uses of data in businesses.


How do we think about data?

Data is a tool to gain further insight or information to enhance a business. We typically think about data as Big Data, Linked Data, and other innovative uses of data.

Big Data

Big Data is about taking a complex set of data that is too large to use normal database tools to manage. Big Data has historically been used to track consumer behavior and trends, evaluate meteorology, genomics, connectomics, complex physics simulations, biological and environmental research, Internet search, finance and business informatics, according to Wikipedia’s “Big data” entry. There is no size requirement for big data, but it must meet the first rule about it being “too large” for databases.

Linked Data

Linked Data is about using the Web to connect related data that wasn’t previously linked, or using the Web to lower the barriers to linking data currently linked using other methods. More specifically, Wikipedia defines Linked Data as “a term used to describe a recommended best practice for exposing, sharing, and connecting pieces of data, information, and knowledge on the Semantic Web using URIs and RDF.” (Source:

Other Innovative Uses of Data

Data can be used in many creative ways and the contest seeks to encourage that. If teams feel they use data in a new or better way and that they do not use “Linked” or “Big” data, then they should be encourage to apply for this prize.


Eligibility Criteria

Teams must be a registered entrant in the MIT $100K Business Plan Contest, and meet all the related qualifying criteria for that contest. A team can participate in any of the 5 industry tracks for this contest, Segal Family Foundation Emerging Markets, Life Sciences, Mobile, Products & Services, and Web/IT. Any team that applies to the MIT $100K Business Plan Contest can be eligible to win the Thomson Reuters Data Prize. Teams eligible for the prize will be evaluated for innovative use of data against a set of judging criteria. The criteria are listed below. Judging will be done by an esteemed industry panel to determine if the business idea meets the below criteria. Winner(s) will be announced via e-mail on May 9th, 2013. Prize awards will be a pool of $10,000. The prize could be given to one or multiple teams.


Judging Criteria

Teams that qualify for the Thomson Reuters Data Prize will submit an updated 2 page executive summary, an up to 250-word response to the question “how does your business use data in an innovative way?” as well as an optional one “freelance” page to demonstrate use of data in the business. A panel of data and analytics experts will review these materials to determine which team will be awarded the Thomson Reuters Data Prize.

In addition to the standard Business Plan Contest Judging Criteria, the teams that qualify for the Thomson Reuters Data Prize will be evaluated on how innovative their use of data is, how central data is to their business, and how impactful the data is in providing the intended service / benefits to their customers.


Awarding the Thomson Reuters Data Prize

The winning team will be notified via email on May 9th, 2012. A representative from Thomson Reuters will present the Thomson Reuters Data Prize to the team at the MIT $100K Business Plan Finale in Kresge Auditorium on May 15th from 6 – 9pm. If the team is not already a finalist, the Thomson Reuters Data Prize winner will present a 3-minute pitch during the finale event. Please note that if you are not a Track Winner or Wild Card Finalist, winning the Thomson Reuters Data Prize does not make your team eligible to compete for and win the $100K grand prize.