Shaping Scotland’s sustainable recovery

The Data-Driven Innovation initiative has contributed to a major Scottish government report on the economic recovery from Covid-19.

In June, the Scottish Government Advisory Group on Economic Recovery published their report “Towards a Robust, Resilient Wellbeing Economy for Scotland” outlining 25 recommendations to structure Scotland’s recovery from Covid-19.

The report outlined three major challenges; inequality, education, and unemployment – and emphasised the need for “sustainable prosperity”. Beyond government, universities and other City Region Deal partners have a role to play bringing these recommendations to life.

The University of Edinburgh, DDI initiative and other Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal partners offered their assistance to the advisory group, which was led by Benny Higgins, former CEO of Tesco Bank.

The City Region Deal’s case for capital investment is recognised with the recommendation of “an investment led recovery” and the suggestion of a “more regionally focused model in order to address the specific new challenges of economic recovery”, which explicitly places City-Region Growth Deals at the forefront of delivery.

The University of Edinburgh and the DDI initiative also called for commitment to an integrated skills strategy. This influenced recommendations in the report addressing skills needed in the labour market and the development of these in universities and colleges. The report’s focus on education and employment will make the DDI Skills Gateway’s “Data Skills for Work” campaign and its collaboration with colleges particularly relevant to recovery. Lastly, the University’s call to study and develop new ways to work was reflected in the report section entitled “workplace innovation” which highlighted the importance of fair work principles in the ‘new normal’.

The University of Edinburgh and DDI are well placed to support other recommendations in the report. For instance, existing and nascent projects encouraging innovation in tourism and hospitality, creative industry and social care will contribute to the recovery of these sectors, which are highlighted as being of vital importance in the report.

Similarly, the “green spine” which runs throughout the report can be supported by innovative projects. For instance, the creation of the Rosyth Advanced Manufacturing Park in Fife will allow the testing of tidal turbine blades and can contribute to making Scotland a leader in marine renewables.

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