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Data-Driven Innovation doubles grants fund to fight Covid-19

Credit: VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

As of Thursday 21st May, due to the high volume of applications the call for applications is now closed. We would like to thank everyone for their interest and high quality of proposals submitted. 

Following a successful first round of applications, Data-Driven Innovation funding for projects to help the City Region respond and recover from the impacts of Covid-19 are being doubled to a £200,000 fund. 

Individual grants of between £1,000 and £20,000 will be available to Edinburgh University staff and post-graduate students whose Data-Driven Innovation (DDI) initiatives tackle the virus or its impact. 

The DDI initiative is pleased to announce the fund has been increased from £100,000 to £200,000 and applications for the next round are open. Deadline for next submission is Thursday 7th May at 10am. Decisions will be communicated by Thursday 14th May.  


You can find our updated Guidance here.

Please submit your application online using this online form.

To help you collaborate on the application, you can access a Microsoft Word version of the application form here. 


Projects awarded in the previous round are:

Jessica Mirman 

School of Health in Social Science
CoronaReport – a citizen science approach for supporting vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 crisis 

Awarded: £9,743 

This project aims to conduct a data-driven needs assessment utilising citizen-science methods with people and families living in or near poverty in communities in Edinburgh. The data from the needs assessment will be used as inputs into a community organising initiative conducted in collaboration with Faith in Community to raise awareness of citizens’ specific needs, identify available resources and assets to meet these needs, and connect citizens with the resources and assets that they need. 


Bonnie Auyeung and Louise Marryat 

School of Psychology
Covid-19 in pregnancy 

Awarded: £18,000 

This project aims to explore the impact of COVID-19 on pregnancy to allow health services to make informed decisions on where to target resource and how to inform women and their families accurately. 

This project aims to bring together routine health data on pregnancy and birth for babies born in March and April 2020 in Scotland, and match these with a cohort of demographically similar babies born in the same months in 2018. This project will conduct an early analysis of pregnancy and birth outcomes, and feed these results directly back to the NHS, Scottish Government, midwives and health visitors.  


Ewelina Lacka 

University of Edinburgh Business School
Post- Covid-19 Edinburgh Tourism Recovery 

Awarded: £9,221 

The recently announced cancellation of the August festivals alone will have a devastating impact to the local economy. While the health and safety of visitors is of paramount importance, it is vital that an effective recovery plan is in place to ensure a responsible and sustainable revival of tourism businesses and the employment that this brings to the city. The aim of this project is to work with the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group to assist Edinburgh-based tourism businesses in their efforts to recover from the impact of Covid-19 by analysing data to support targeted marketing once measures are gradually lifted.  


Alessandro Rosiello 

University of Edinburgh Business School
Impact of Covid-19 on High-Growth Businesses in Edinburgh City Region and Beyond 

Awarded: £4,654 

This project has been designed to capture the impact of Covid-19 on SMEs in the Edinburgh City Region in comparison to Scotland and the rest of the UK.  In our region we have a relatively high number of high-growth startups and early-stage businesses, and tracking the details of the challenges of Covid-19 crisis is vital for informing the local (and national) government, support agencies and managers to devise effective responses. The project aims to develop a comprehensive body of evidence to show how businesses are coping with Covid-19 and associated measures and propose further interventions most likely to be effective in combating the economic impact of the pandemic. 


Fiona Denison  

The University of Edinburgh Medical School
Data driven evaluation of rapid national implementation of home blood pressure monitoring for shielded and high-risk pregnant women to reduce risk of Covid-19 by reducing hospital/face-to-face consultation 

Awarded: £18,000 

This project aims to assess whether rapid implementation of home blood pressure monitoring (HBPM) in pregnant women across Scotland reduces the number of face-to-face consultations for high-risk (Class 1 and 2, as defined by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists1) pregnant and postnatal women during the Covid-19 pandemic. 


Paul Bessell, Lisa Boden, Mark Bronsvoort, Giles Innocent, Ian Handel, Stella Mazeri, Thibaud Porphyre 

Roslin Institute
Understanding the epidemiology of COVID-19 in Scotland to design and model lockdown exit strategies: A risk-based approach to policy prioritisation 

Awarded: £18,000 

The project aim is to draw on experiences and expertise from animal epidemics and risk governance to improve the understanding of the epidemiology of the Scottish epidemic to inform policy and decision making. This project we will: 

  • Communicate to stakeholders the pertinent findings form mathematical modelling research 
  • Map populations that are at increased risk of developing severe disease. 
  • Extend an initial dashboard to monitor and communicate the status of the outbreak. 
  • Collate available but fragmented surveillance data from local communities in Scotland to better measure asymptomatic infections. 
  • Repurpose emergency response mathematical modelling framework to explore a range of exit strategies for Scotland. 
  • Conduct survey of a geographically stratified sample of GP practices and from NHS-111 to collate data on mild cases within different social and demographic strata to improve understanding on the scale of spread and transmission in communities 


The DDI initiative is pleased to announce the fund has been increased from £100,000 to £200,000 and applications for the next round are open