Data Science Education Centre of Excellence

News and Events 2016

A summary of Edinburgh Data Science related news, conferences, seminars and events from 2016.

December 2016

The Data Lab - Online Learning Funding Call

The Data Lab, a Scotland-wide Innovation Centre with a Hub hosted in the University of Edinburgh (in addition to Aberdeen and Glasgow),  have launched a call for proposals looking to fund the development of online courses which contribute to the requirement for more flexible high-quality data science training and education. These may take the form of MOOCs or closed application online courses.  The Data Lab will provide between £30,000 and £50,000 for the development of up to three online courses for this call.

The submission deadline for Expressions of Interest is 17.00 on Monday 13th February 2017

Further information and application guidance

November 2016

Data Science PhD and EngD funding call opens!

The Data Lab, a University of Edinburgh Innovation Centre, is supporting up to twelve new industrially relevant PhD or EngD projects. Funding for up to 50% of the PhD cost will be provided, with the remainder to be matched by an industry (or public / third sector) partner.  The Data Lab are currently looking for applications from academic supervisors who have either a proposed project with an agreed industry and/or public sector partner, or who are actively engaged with a partner to define a project.  

Further information and application guidance

The closing date for this round of applications is 17:00 on Friday 6th January 2017.  A second round will open in February 2017. 

Pioneering Research Data Exhibition (Data-X )

Supported by the Data Lab, the Pioneering Research DataExhibition (Data-X) is a University of Edinburgh IS Innovation Fund initiative. With a focus on data re-use, it brings together University of Edinburgh PhD researchers to develop collaborative and cross-disciplinary ‘installations’ aimed at impacting the public and peers directly through a creative exhibition and symposium.  'Installations' will take the form of hands on demonstrations, digital sculptures, simulations, performances, soundscapes, interactive exhibits, 3D structures, machinery, visualisations.  The Data-X Symposium will be held on 1 December in the Main Lecture Theatre, Edinburgh College of Art.  For further information see:

Event Information and How to Register

Beyond Brexit: We need to build on historic strenghths. (Herald Scotland)

Vice-Principal of Data Science at the University of Edinburgh, Professor Andrew Morris, discusses, in today’s Herald Scotland, the need to build on Scotland’s historic strengths in global connectivity and their proven excellence in research in the wake of the Brexit vote.  Professor Morris writes “International collaboration is essential for stepped changes in scientific knowledge and global impact. International collaboration is vital to our understanding of the genetic influence of common diseases. Membership of the EU has provided a vibrant ecosystem for Scottish researchers to collaborate on the best science, so that the knowledge we gain can be translated into practical benefits for patients.  With renewed vigour, we should build upon our historic strengths and continue to promote high-energy and creative collaborations between the NHS, industry, the charitable sector and academia. In this way we will share the benefits of success throughout our country and state clearly to the world that Scotland remains open for business.”

The full Herald Scotland article can be found here.

Data Fest 2017 Launched!

The Data Lab Scotland have announced the UK's first week long Data Festival.  DataFest17 is a festival of data innovation with events hosted across Scotland from 20th to 24th March 2017. Scotland is a melting pot of data innovation and the festival will further catalyse activity across the country and showcase Scotland’s leading role in data on the international stage.  The Data revolution is just beginning: data innovation is disrupting all areas of our lives from business to public services and beyond. The theme for the festival is 'Data Changes Everything' and the programme will explore current and future data innovation with leading speakers in the field.

Further event details and registration information can be found here.

October 2016

Data Science Research Day 2016

The annual Data Science Research Day took place this year on Wednesday the 12th of October 2016, which provided an opportunity to bring together staff, students and partner organisations from within the Data Science community allowing a chance of networking and identifying new potential collaborative opportunites.

Data Science for Health Showcase 2016

The Data Science for Health Showcase event took place on the 11th of October 2016 at the Informatics Forum.  The event showcased the innovation and impact taking place across our membership of industry, entrepreneurs, policy makers, NHS and University researchers.  

Bringing together this innovation community which we have been building together in the emergent fields of medical informatics, data science, and digital health, this half day event provided a mix of presentations, discussions and plenty of networking opportunities to foster new collaborations. We were delighted to have a keynote presentation from Dr Matthew Howard, the former European Lead of IBM Watson Health along with various other speakers.

This showcase event was hosted by Edinburgh Data Science, Informatics Ventures & discover Health Informatics.

Data Science CDT Lecture: Data Science and the Law

On the 5th of October the CDT in Data Science held the first lecture from a new series about ethical and privacy issues in Data Science.  The lecture was presented by Burkhard Schafer, Professor of Computational Legal Theory at the University of Edinburgh with the title "Beyond the tickbox: Data governance, ethical research and the law".  

Abstract:  Research with large data sets, just as the use of data by government and industry as research funders, poses new ethical and legal challenges. Professional organisation, government agencies and funding councils are trying to update their guidelines, procedures and processes to deal with this challenge. Some concerns are well-understood and to an extend predictable: Data Protection concerns to protect the privacy of data that pertains to individuals, intellectual property and ownership concerns to ensure a fair, non-exploitative allocation of rights and duties. Where the shape of possible ethical concerns is known in advance, developing appropriate governance structures is (comparatively) easy. But the resulting “tick box” approach risks to shift our attention away from those things not easily measured, or anticipated. This talk then pursues a dual function. It gives a general introduction into “ethics auditing” and risk assessment tools as part of good data governance, as prescribed by some influential organisations. By introducing some case studies, it also shows however some of the inherent limitations and dangers of this approach. It concludes with a discussion of “disclosive computer ethics” as framework that aims to transcend the limitations of process-focussed ethical data governance and legal compliance.

September 2016

Data Talent Scotland 2017 

Tickets are now on sale for the Data Talent Scotland 2017 event which will be held in Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh on the 22nd of March 2017.  Data Talent Scotland is an annual collider event that brings together postgraduate data science students, data enthusiasts, universities and businesses from across Scotland. The event connects new data talent and education with industry, providing businesses with fantastic opportunities to access the best of Scotland’s data talent and education.

Further information on Data Talent Scotland 2017

August 2016

Data Science, Technology and Innovation

The University of Edinburgh are looking forward to welcoming the incoming cohort to the newly launched online MSc in Data Science, Technology and Innovation and the MSc in Data Science, Technology and Innovation with specialism in Medical Informatics.  This online distance learning programme in Data Science, Technology and Innovation is intended to allow different points of entry into the world of data science across the sciences, medicine, arts and humanities. Drawing on cutting-edge educational content from a broad range of contributing disciplines, this programme provides a deeper knowledge through domain experience as well as through instruction in technology, concentrating on active uses of data research.

Applications are now being accepted for September 2017. How to apply.

July 2016

Data Technology Institute 

The University of Edinburgh's Data Technology Institute (DTI) is a hub designed to foster data-driven innovation. It is a new programme of activity, capitalising on existing strengths across the University. 

From 2018, the DTI will be housed in a new building that is the third and final phase of the Potterrow development, following completion of the Informatics Forum and the Dugald Stewart Building in 2008.  Construction has begun and the new building will include a wide range of occupants from across the University, start-ups and spin-out companies, in addition to industrial collaborators.

Read more about DTI in the University's recent Edit edition where DTI's Director, Professor Jon Oberlander, discusses artificial intelligence and the prospects for compassionate robots.

UoE Edit: Professor Jon Oberlander "Humanising Robots"

Further information about DTI can be found on the Institute's website:

Data Technology Institute 

June 2016

Health Informatics: Business Model Innovation Workshop 

Edinburgh Data Science  hosted the Health Informatics: Business Model Innovation Workshop along with Informatics Ventures, Mercia Fund Management, and discover Health Informatics in Nine BioQuarter (Little France) on 15th June 2016. 

This workshop was open to industry members as well as PhD students and early career Researchers who sought to move beyond traditional models for exploitation and co-develop new value propositions.  This event assessed key variables; stakeholders, research base, development trajectories, business models, technologies and IPR strategies.

Thank you for all who participated in this dynamic and engating full day event. 

Health Informatics: Business Model Innovation Workshop  

Photos: Informatics Ventures - Health Informatics: Business Model Innovation Workshop

May 2016

Digital Day of Ideas Workshop 

Run by Digital Humanities in the University of Edinburgh, The Digital Day of Ideas Workshop was held on 18th May 2016.  The day included workshops for delegates and Keynote Presentations by: 

  • Karen Gregory, Lecturer in Digital Sociology, University of Edinburgh, “Conceptualizing Digital Sociology as Critical, Interdisciplinary Practice"
  • Lorna Hughes, Professor in Digital Humanities at the Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute, University of Glasgow, “Content, Co-Curation and Innovation: Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage Collaboration”
  • Ted Underwood, Professor and LAS Centennial Scholar of English, University of Illinois, “Predicting the Past”

The Digital Day of Ideas 

April 2016

Edinburgh Genomics: "Spreading the News - Engaging with Science and Industry: Exploring the Opportunities in Genome Sequencing"  

Edinburgh Genomics held a two-day conference discussing opportunities in Genome Sequencing in the Roslin Institute on 11th and 12th April 2016. This event included presentations, posters, exhibitions and tours of the Edinburgh Genomics facility.  Keynote presentations were provided by Chris Ponting (IGMM/University of Edinburgh) and Neil Hall (The Genome Analysis Centre).

Edinburgh Genomics: Spreading the News - April 2016

March 2016

SCRIPT Centre: "Legal obstacles for data privacy researchers” 

Christoph Sorge, Juris Professor of Legal Informatics at the Universität des Saarlandes will be speaking about the "Legal obstacles for data privacy researchers" 

Monday 21st March 2016 in the University of Edinburgh Elder Room, Old College (South Side) from 3 - 4 pm

The event is free and open to all, but due to space limitations, early registration is recommended, please send an email to

Data Talent Scotland 2016 

Edinburgh Data Science were delighted to take part in Data Talent Scotland, which was held in Edinburgh at the Assembly Rooms on 16th March 2016.  

There was a fantastic buzz and enthusiasm at the event hosted by The Data LabMBN and WeAreTheFuture, who joined forces to launch this collider event which brought 150 postgraduate data science students, 200 data enthusiasts, 11 Universities representing 16 data science programmes, and 50 businesses together from across Scotland.  

Along with the Programme Director and Course Organisers, representatives were on hand to discuss our online distance learning postgraduate programme in Data Science, Technology and Innovation as well as potential bespoke courses and masterclasses.  It was fascinating to see the work being carried out across Scotland and hear about some exciting developments to come.  Additional information about this event can be found in the links below. 

Data Talent Scotland 2016

In the news:

The Herald:  "Maximising Scotland's data talent pipeline" and "Data science showcase in Edinburgh"

The Scotsman: "Scots lifestyle is ‘magnet’ for young data scientists"

February 2016

Big Data Initiative to Impact on Health

"A £20 million project aims to harness the power of healthcare and government data to improve the lives of patients and the wider population.

Two major research institutes, involving universities and the NHS, are using healthcare and public authority records to develop health treatments and improve public policy. They are benefiting from UK funding to support cutting edge medical, healthcare and social research aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of individuals and populations in Scotland, the wider UK and overseas. The funding is led by the Medical Research Council and Economic and Social Research Council. The Farr Institute Scotland and the Administrative Data Research Centre Scotland (ADRC-S) are based at Edinburgh BioQuarter, a partnership between the University of Edinburgh, Scottish Enterprise and NHS Lothian."

Read the full University publication at the link below.

UoE News: Big data initiative to impact on health

Video: The Data Lab - Unlocking value from Data for Scotland

The Data Lab, a Scotland-wide Innovation Centre with a Hub hosted in the University of Edinburgh (in addition to Aberdeen and Glasgow), has produced a video outlining their mission: unlocking value from Data for Scotland.   The Data Lab builds on innovation from Scotland’s world-leading university sector and transforms the way in which industry, public sector and academic institutions collaborate.  Visit the video link below for more information and contact details. 

YouTube Video: The Data Lab

Innovation Centres

January 2016

Alan Turing Institute: Doctoral Studentships and Secondments 

The Alan Turing Institute is the UK’s national institute for data science. Its mission is to: undertake data science research at the intersection of computer science, mathematics, statistics and systems engineering; provide technically informed advice on the wider implications of algorithms; enable researchers from industry and academia to work together to undertake research with practical applications; and act as a magnet for leaders in academia and industry to engage in data science and its applications.  The Institute is based at The British Library in London, and will bring together researchers from the five founding universities (Edinburgh, Cambridge, Oxford, UCL and Warwick) and other partners.


The Alan Turing Institute is seeking exceptional candidates for doctoral studentships, starting in October 2016. The Institute’s doctoral studentship scheme is distinct and exciting, aimed at students who wish to combine deep technical understanding in core competencies (including algorithms, systems, mathematical statistics, machine learning, inference, mathematical methods and modelling) with an appropriate degree of scientific breadth from an in-depth exposure across the spectrum of data science challenges and opportunities. Full details are available on the Alan Turing Institute Website linked below:

Alan Turing Institute - Doctoral Studentships


One way that researchers can work with Turing is through secondment; this is the first call for those academic staff and senior Research Fellows working in data science to make an Expressions of Interest (EoI) in such a scheme. The first secondments will normally start in September 2016 and can last up to 3 years. They are available to all academic staff and there is a separate junior fellowship programme. Secondments will take the form of a buy-out without any change of employment contract. It is anticipated that further calls will be made roughly annually. 

Further details and information about submitting an expression of interest is available in the PDF link below (deadling 25th January 2016). 

Alan Turing Institute - Website

 Data_Science_UoE_Secondments_to_ATI (107.6 KB PDF)

Workshop: Statistics and probabilistic reasoning in international law 

Held on Monday 18th January 2016 and hosted by the Joseph Bell Centre in conjunction with Edinburgh Data Science, this workshop included presentations from Professors Burkhard Schafer and Colin Aitken from the University of Edinburgh as well as Dr Yvonne McDermott, Senior Lecturer in Law at Bangor University.  The workshop closed with an open discussion on research questions and programs in statistics and international law. 

A PDF copy of the agenda and an abstract are available below:

 Workshop: Statistics and probabilistic reasoning in international law - 18 January 2016 (73.71 KB PDF)