The University and Data-Driven Innovation

Our attainments in informatics are 1st in Research Power (Power Rankings Research Fortnightly REF 2014 Analysis). Recently data-driven innovation has formed the core of investment in innovation in the Edinburgh and South-East Scotland City Region City Deal, recently announced by the UK and Scottish Governments.

Virtual screen with lines of data and formula

Data-Driven Innovation (DDI)

In 2016 the University of Edinburgh led a Science and Innovation Audit, submitted on behalf of a partnership of regional bodies to the UK Government’s Department of Business, Energy and Industry Strategy (BEIS). The audit established a strong case for investment in data-driven innovation (DDI) in the Edinburgh Region. Indeed the University of Edinburgh has played a leading role in data science and artificial intelligence education, research and innovation. We are a founder member of the Alan Turing Institute. We have been instrumental in starting or attracting circa 100 companies in the last decade, including 2 ‘unicorns’ ($1bn start-ups).

This capability in data sciences and innovation formed the core of the business case for investment in data-driven innovation (DDI) in the Edinburgh and South-East Scotland Region City Deal (City Deal) recently announced by the UK and Scottish Governments. This will contribute to a number of new initiatives at the University of Edinburgh underpinned by the ethos of the ‘porous university’ in which research leaders, students, industry and public sector experts ‘breath the same air’ in interactive facilities to co-create the benefits to derive from our leading position in DDI.

To deliver City Deal’s overall programme of data-driven innovation activities, the University has initiated several new ‘University Institutes’. These cross-College entities are the Bayes Centre (Digital technologies and space and satellite analysis), Edinburgh Futures Institute (Financial Services and fintech, Public Sector ‘Govtech’, tourism and festivals and creative industries), the Usher Institute (health and social care), the Robotarium in partnership with Heriot-Watt University (robotics and autonomous systems) and the ‘AgriTech’ initiatives. All are underpinned by major investment in a world class data infrastructure which expands the UK’s National supercomputer facility managed by Edinburgh Parallel Computer Centre (EPCC)’s capabilities along with core UoE IT infrastructure.

In turn, UoE will invest substantial revenue into the programme of activities over the next 10 years. This is intended to leverage further investment from industry, public and third sector partners. The intention is to deliver five themes; talent, research, adoption, datasets and entrepreneurship (TRADE) to the regional economy and beyond.


Find out more about the City Region Deal and Data-Driven Innovation