Through our role in the Edinburgh & South East Scotland City Region Deal, we’re aiming to deliver benefits across five areas: Talent; Research; Adoption; Data; and Entrepreneurship – these are our TRADE targets. These themes were agreed between senior academic and management teams at the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University, our City Region Deal partners and the Scottish and UK Governments.
To achieve (and hopefully surpass) these targets, we’ll be supporting DDI hubs to deliver activities across the five themes. We’ve summarised the TRADE targets below, and highlighted the opportunities within each for academics. You can read more about the role of the DDI hubs in delivering these on this page.
For Talent, 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.
To do this, we’ll support the launch of new programmes, like the Edinburgh Futures Institute DDI Education Portfolio. For university staff, this will mean greater potential to contribute to course design and work on proposals for new courses and programmes. Our students will also receive more practical training using real-world data, such as in the Students as Change Agents project that we’re supporting.
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. But the presence of the DDI theme and support services throughout the two universities will also help to make research grant applications better aligned to government industrial strategy, making them more competitive.
Our Adoption target is to help 1000 public, private and third sector organisations adopt data-driven innovation to improve products and services. We’re supporting more commercial research, 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.
For Data, our aim is to attract more data-sets to our analytics facility, the World-Class Data Infrastructure (WCDI) – which has greatly improved the university 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-
Finally, we’re aiming to help Entrepreneurial start-ups grow out of DDI activity and have set a target of helping 400 new businesses get started. Our support for the Wayra Blockchain & AI Accelerator cohort is one example of how we’re doing this. Inside the university, this will mean more entrepreneurship support for staff and students.