University data science expertise on the bill at DataFest

The University of Edinburgh is set to make another big contribution to DataFest, Scotland’s data showcase, running from 11-22 March 2019.

The University is co-delivering six free events in Edinburgh for DataFest’s rapidly growing fringe programme, including training courses, lectures and workshops for school pupils.

Researchers and academics will be offering insights on a diverse range of topics from data science in healthcare and understanding inequality through data, to inspiring the next generation of data scientists.

Speaking at DataFest’s flagship event, the Data Summit, will be Melissa Terras, Professor of Digital Cultural Heritage at the University of Edinburgh. Melissa leads digital aspects of research within the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and is Director of Research in the new Edinburgh Futures Institute. Her research focuses on the use of computational techniques to enable research in the arts, humanities, and wider cultural heritage and information environment.

Discussing the role of data across arts, humanities and social sciences, Melissa said: “Technological and innovation drivers are often perceived to be only science and commerce – but there is a lot that the voice and experience of the arts, humanities and social sciences can offer the current information landscape. All data is historical data – the product of a time, place, and social and economic factors, and it is important to use a diverse skill set to understand power structures, establish ethical frameworks, and build technological infrastructure for social good, rather than financial profit. I’ll be exploring a range of projects which have used advanced digital methods to understand the past, and show how this approach can help us improve our futures.”

Director of the University’s Data-Driven Innovation initiative, Jarmo Eskelinen said: “We’re delighted to see the University’s expertise in data making a terrific contribution to this year’s DataFest. As part of the City Region Deal, we want to promote ‘doing data right’ by focusing on ethics and inclusion. So it’s particularly great to be involved when this year’s theme is community collaboration. We look forward to working with the Data Lab on a number of exciting projects over the coming years.”

Gillian Docherty, Chief Executive of the Data Lab, said: “We are so excited to be hosting the biggest DataFest yet this March, and it is fantastic to have such an extensive participation from the University of Edinburgh. DataFest is a team effort, not only by the team at the Data Lab, but by our amazing collaborative community, of which the University of Edinburgh is an important part.”

Now in its third year, DataFest is a two-week festival of data innovation run by the Data Lab, Scotland’s national body for promoting data skills and innovation. The event highlights Scotland’s leading role in data science and artificial intelligence on the international stage, bringing together global talent, industry, academia and data enthusiasts.

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