DDI Unveils Economic Opportunities in the Lothians

The benefits of data-driven innovation (DDI) opportunities across the Lothians have been highlighted in a whitepaper, published today, 22 November 2023.

DDI Economic Development Opportunities – The Lothians is published by the University of Edinburgh’s DDI initiative, and identifies ways to drive socio-economic growth across the three local authorities of East Lothian, Midlothian, and West Lothian.

The report also sets out how regional collaboration around DDI opportunities could improve prosperity and inclusive growth by improving economic and social resilience.

The research team identified five themes for innovation-focused opportunities, based on priorities in the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, the Regional Prosperity Framework and the Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation. These include:

  • Sustainable housing and infrastructures
  • Mobility and access to facilities and amenities
  • Cross-sectoral high-tech sustainable circular economy
  • Empowering creative and value-adding enterprises

However, the study acknowledges resource constraints, disconnected infrastructure (such as transport), economic conditions and climate change as challenges. Commonalities across the region mean joined up solutions would enable a greater regional capacity to effect change and tackle these issues.

The report’s lead author, Dr Matjaz Vidmar, Lecturer in Engineering Management at the University of Edinburgh, said: “With this research, we hope to bring the data-driven innovation across these areas into focus, to enable the emerging high-tech and digital opportunities for businesses, the public sector and local groups. Our report highlights immense potential for further sustainable development, leading on national conversations around the future of towns and high streets, as well as gaining tangible local benefits from the presence of the world-leading tech parks.”

Recommendations to strengthen regional frameworks include building data innovation expertise across councils, sharing data, information and knowledge, and further collaborations in economic development funding. The authors hope the report will further empower local authorities by taking up these opportunities.

The report builds on two previous DDI reports, with Fife Council and Scottish Borders Council, published in 2022. The long-term objective is to generate additional economic and social benefits by co-creating new place-based innovation strategies.

The University of Edinburgh and the three local authorities are partners in the Edinburgh & South East Scotland City Region Deal, signed in 2018.

Access the complete report here DDI Economic Development Opportunities: The Lothians

Discover the insights and perspectives of the authors themselves in this must-listen Podcast

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