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Calls for EU public private 'big data' partnership - Europe is lagging behind the rest of the world in taking advantage of the opportunities presented by 'big data', an EU Commissioner has said.

Neelie Kroes said that some barriers currently prevent the maximum benefit from being derived from the masses of research data generated within the EU but said that the public and private sectors could "work together" to ensure "economies of scale" could be achieved.

"Put the data together, and the value of the whole is far more than the sum of its parts," Kroes said in a speech in Lithuania. "That's why we need economies of scale. Essential for analysing for meaningful, valuable outcomes. And essential if we are to compete globally. This kind of work needs huge processing power. But the highest performance computers are unaffordable by any member state, even the largest, acting alone. A piecemeal approach would be inefficient, and subscale.  And as it stands, too many companies and public services don't fully benefit, from their own data or from others'. That's why we need to work together. And enjoy those economies of scale."