Events and Podcasts

Upcoming Events and Podcasts

#DDIdiscussions involves experts and thought leaders from different sectors about how data, innovation and partnerships can tackle some of industry and society’s most pressing challenges.

Podcasts available:
Radio Public

Podcast 10th June | Dr Allison Schrager
Women in Data lead, Poppy Gerrard-Abbott, sits down with author and economist Dr Allison Schrager to discuss her book on our everyday relationship with risk and whether we are setting the right objectives when it comes to change.
Listen now. 

Event recordings available:

Or search #DDIdiscussions on LinkedIn and Twitter.


Thursday 17th June |  Galvanised: Connecting Science, Engineering and the Arts at EFI

The fifth and last event in our 2021 Galvanised seminar series - Culture Shock: the future of the performing arts and artists post-pandemic. Fergus Linehan, Festival Director of the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF), will join us to address these questions with reference to immediate and future presentations of the EIF and future of "internationalism" in the performing arts. Nicola McCartney, award-winning playwright and Reader in Writing for Performance at University of Edinburgh, will question whether we are on the cusp of a "Roaring Twenties" as audiences starved of live art flood back to live performances, a resurgence that will be chequered by a degree of mourning for individual artists and freelance staff who have had to leave the performing arts.

Grab a ticket:


Friday 18th June 12-2pm | SaCHA PhD Change Agents Final Presentation Events

How can we involve communities in inclusive growth post Covid-19?
Partner: Institute of Public Policy Research, Scotland (IPPR Scotland) is Scotland’s progressive think tank. They are dedicated to supporting and improving public policy, working tirelessly to achieve a progressive Scotland.
Meeting Link


Friday 18th June 3-4:30pm | SaCHA PhD Change Agents Final Presentation Events

How can local businesses be supported to lead the regional economic recovery in Edinburgh?

Partner: The Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence (GOFCoE) is uniquely pioneering a data-
based services organisation to provide innovation capability, research opportunities and talent
programmes to develop the benefits of Open Finance, and other data, about consumers, businesses and citizens.
Meeting Link


Thursday July 1st | 'AWEN: A Walk Encountering Nature' launched

The interactive digital experience, AWEN, led by Edinburgh Futures Institute's research project, The New Real, is live! AWEN is a self-guided walk encouraging people to use their senses and rethink how they encounter our changing natural world. Interactive art, sound, movement and play are prompted by global climate data and science. AWEN is being user tested in the lead-up to the Edinburgh Science Festival where it features in the summer programme.


Save The Date: Thursday 30th September | DDI Annual Conference with the Scotsman
Our annual DDI Conference with the Scotsman. Taking place virtual on Thursday 30th September approx. 9am-5pm. More details to follow.

Previous Events and Podcasts

Podcasts available:
Radio Public

Event recordings available:

Or search #DDIdiscussions on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Wednesday 19th May 2021 | 'Data-driven innovation in AI' 

The #DDIdiscussions on May 19th as we discussed the role of Scottish Universities in the development of AI. Scotland's recently released AI strategy, the exciting development of the National Robotarium and what sectors of the Scottish economy have untapped potential for AI implementation. - It's a discussion not to be missed!

Panel members

Michael Rovatsos, Director, Bayes Centre; Steph Wright – AI Strategy Lead, The Data Lab; Roy Donaldson, Cisco; and Helen Hastie, National Robotarium, Heriot Watt University

Watch the event recording.


10–14th May | Robotics & Care Mashup 

Two of our DDI hubs, the Usher Institute and National Robotarium, are joining forces with Product Forge to run a Robotics & Care Mashup hackathon this May.

The Robotics + Care Mashup (10–14th May) is a week-long collider and hackathon bringing together designers, technologists and subject matter experts from the care sector.

Teams will be engaged on a cross-disciplinary product development sprint to prototype commercially viable concepts that support people with assisted living needs.

For those in professions that require CPD, there will be a CPD track assessed by the CPD standards office that can count towards your ongoing professional development.

The National Robotarium and Usher Institute are part of a regional network of five Data-Driven Innovation hubs at the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University, created as part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.

To learn more and get involved, visit


Thursday 29th April 2021 | Webinar ( Available online)

This panel discussion will explore the feasibility of open finance and innovation offering greater financial inclusion to those who currently face barriers – and the ethical issues of doing so. Part of the #DDIdiscussions series.


Varun Paul, Senior Manager, Fintech Hub, Bank of England

Sorcha Lorimer, Interim Chief Privacy & Risk Officer, Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence

Tynah Matembe, Co-Founder & CEO - MoneyMatiX

To watch the event click here

Due to technical difficulties the start of the event was not recorded.


Wednesday 24th March 2021 | Online Event

Our #DDIdiscussions on the 24th of March 2021. Twelve months on from the UK’s first national lockdown in spring 2020, we discuss the lessons learned and how far the pandemic has helped the sharing of data for public health benefit with Jason Leitch, Nick Mills, and Devi Sridhar.


David Lee (Chair)

Professor Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director for Scotland, Scottish Government

Professor Nick Mills, Director, DataLoch at the Usher Institute, University of Edinburgh

Professor Devi Sridhar, Professor of Global Public Health, Usher Institute, University of Edinburgh

Watch the event recording here. 


2020 Events

Wednesday July 1st 2020 | Webinar (available now)

The role of data and data innovation in the recovery from Covid-19


Paul Lawrence, Director of Place, City of Edinburgh Council

John Godfrey, Corporate Affairs Director, Legal & General

Andrea Wilson, UoE researcher and project lead for ‘Data-driven now-casting & forecasting of healthcare resource requirements associated with Covid-19’

Alessandro Rosiello, UoE researcher and project lead for ‘Impact of Covid-19 on high-growth businesses in Edinburgh City Region and beyond’


Thursday 23rd July 2020 | Podcast

Alex Pentland, MIT professor and author of Social Physics
Why it’s time for local communities to take back control of their data

Listen here. Read our article ‘Time to take back control of our data’ with Alex here.

Thursday 6th August 2020 | Podcast

Albert King, Chief Data Officer for Scotland
Data and better public services: adding value, not just noise
Listen here. Read our article ‘Mobilising public data in the Covid-19 fight’ with Albert here.

Thursday 20th August 2020 | Podcast

Jamie Bartlett, author of The People Vs Tech
Why the march of technology threatens democracy, US presidential elections 2016 and 2020
Listen here. Read our article ‘Data and Democracy’ with Jamie here.


Thursday 27th August 2020 | Webinar (Available now)

DDI Webinar: The role of data in global financial innovation

Panellists include:

Gbenga Ibikunle, Senior Lecturer in Financial Markets and Director, MSc Finance, Technology and Policy

Raffaella Calabrese, Edinburgh Futures Institute & University of Edinburgh Business School

Nicola Anderson, Strategic Development Director at FinTech Scotland.

Gavin Littlejohn, Chair FDATA Global

Chaired by ; David Lee

To watch the recording of the webinar: Click here


Thursday 10th September 2020 | Podcast

Shannon Vallor, Baillie Gifford Chair of Data Ethics and Artificial Intelligence at the University of Edinburgh’s Edinburgh Futures Institute

Fusing technology and ethics – to shape a future worth wanting

Listen here. Read our interview ‘Hardwiring ethics into a future worth wanting’ with Shannon here.


Thursday 24th September 2020 | Podcast

Rainer Kattel, Deputy Director, UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose

East is east and west is west: what can we learn from different data approaches to Covid-19?

From the ‘free-tech’ approach of Silicon Valley to strong state control in China, what have the very different approaches to data and Covid-19 taught us? And should the west be more open-minded to the response from the far east, which led to far lower death rates?

Listen here. Read our interview ‘Climbing the learning curve’ with Rainer here.






Final Presentation Events

Our latest iteration of Students as Change Agents has 115 students across 16 groups working on 5 different challenges. Students are participating from all 3 Colleges, and 23 different Schools or Deaneries with a level of study range from Access students through to 4th year PhD. This particular 10 week programme has included bringing traditional distance learners together with those in Edinburgh as well as students who have returned home to study.

Wednesday 7 April 2021

What can housing associations do to prevent fuel poverty?
Challenge Partner: Link Group
Wednesday 7 April 2021, 12pm - 1.30pm
Meeting Link

How can we present a global index on child welfare, using existing data so that governments take action?
Challenge Partner: Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children
Wednesday 7 April 2021, 2pm - 5pm
Meeting Link

Thursday 8 April 2021

How can we tackle overconsumption in fashion?
Challenge Partner: Pivot Earth
Thursday 8 April 2021, 2pm - 3.30pm
Meeting Link

Friday 9 April 2021
How can the music industry in a post-Covid Scotland create jobs and economic growth?
Challenge Partner: Scottish Music Industry Association  Friday 9 April 2021, 12pm - 1.30pm
Meeting Link

How can we build a fair and welcoming Scotland for refugees and asylum seekers?
Challenge Partner: Scottish Refugee Council Friday 9 April 2pm - 3.30pm
Meeting Link