Innovation & collaboration

How we are helping industries and society

Data-Driven Innovation is designed around five challenge areas that will deliver benefits for citizens, services, and businesses. Through our role in the City Region Deal, we’re aiming to deliver benefits across five areas: Talent; Research; Adoption; Data; and Entrepreneurship – these targets are explained in the boxes below.

To achieve - and hopefully surpass - these targets, we’ll be supporting our DDI hubs to deliver activities, which include improving digital skills in the workforce and helping organisations across the private, public, and third sectors innovate using data.

Talent - data skills for the people

We want to increase the skills and qualifications of graduates, those in training, and members of the workforce. We’ll do this by delivering 100,000 people qualified in data science-related subjects over 15 years.

This will range from specialist data analysts to healthcare staff, financial services workers, marketers, and many others, who’ll have better data capabilities as a standard part of their professional skills. This will help our tech industries but also benefit many other businesses and organisations, as data skills become increasingly important in a wide range of jobs.

Research - joining forces to solve our industrial and societal challenges

Our Research target is for the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University to make a combined contribution of £700m to economic growth over 15 years.

To get there, we’re providing more support for applied research with private, public, and third sector partners, like we’ve done with the Data For Children Collaborative with UNICEF. We are building relationships with more and more organisations across ten sectors to understand the challenges they face and link our data science research to their needs.

Ultimately, we want our world-class expertise in data-driven innovation to help organisations diversify, grow, or simply become more efficient.

Adoption - data innovation collaboration with industry

We aim to help 1000 public, private and third sector organisations adopt data-driven innovation to improve products and services.

We’re supporting more commercial research and academic-industry partnerships, from individual organisations to large-scale, cross-sector collaborations.

Our team and DDI hubs can help create multi-disciplinary research teams for bespoke industry challenges, combining this with data science expertise and facilities.

Data- safe and secure data hosting and analytics

We want to attract more data-sets to the Edinburgh International Data Facility (EIDF) – which has greatly improved our region’s capability to host, analyse, and link more data-sets from a variety of sources.

This will provide a trustworthy and secure data access service for researchers and analysts. Our goal is to attract 1,000 datasets to – drawing insights and identifying patterns from high-speed analytics.

Entrepreneurship - launching and growing data start-ups

Finally, we are supporting entrepreneurial start-ups grow out of DDI activity through a number of  exciting, new DDE activities to meet our target of helping 400 new businesses get started. These Data Driven Entrepreneurship support initiatives are aimed at companies at different stages, from ideation to scaling enabling them to maximise their success at all points of their entrepreneurial journey. Inside the university, this means more targeted support for staff and students; for example, our Venture Builder Open Innovation Challenge and VB PhD Incubator. Another example is the Data Driven Entrepreneurship AI Accelerator which is open to external, global scale ups and well as home grown businesses seeking to grow quickly and access the data talent and support available in Edinburgh and the South East.