School of Informatics


A brief overview of the school and the key areas we are involved in including research, teaching and commercialisation.

Our Vision

Our vision at the School of Informatics is to retain and strengthen our position among the top five world-leading centres of research and teaching in computation, information and cognition.

The School

Informatics is one of seven schools in the College of Science and Engineering, at the University of Edinburgh.

Information about how the School was formed is available in our alumni Edit article, History Makers: Informatics.

The School provides a fertile environment for a wide range of studies focussed on understanding computation in both artificial and natural systems.

With over 450 academic and research staff and over 850 students, the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh is the largest in the UK and one of the largest in Europe.

Studying Informatics at Edinburgh

We offer a flexible choice of undergraduate and postgraduate courses and degrees in:

  • Informatics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Cognitive Science
  • Computational Linguistics
  • Computer Science
  • Software Engineering

Prospective undergraduates pages

Prospective postgraduates pages

Excellence in research

The School of Informatics has surpassed expectations in producing its best ever assessment result in the Research Excellence Framework (REF).

The REF assesses both research outputs (such as scientific papers) and the research environment as previously considered by the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), last conducted in 2008. The REF also evaluates the impact of research, which was not considered by the RAE. In addition to improving its assessment scores across the board compared to RAE 2008, the School also produced excellent impact from its research.

REF 2014 Overall results

The School of Informatics submitted more FTE staff than any other school or department of Computer Science. With a submission of 94.85 FTE staff, we were more than 20 FTE larger than the nearest competitor (Oxford, with 73.40 FTE staff).

  • 33% of our research outputs received the top grade (4*).
  • 48% of our impact case studies received the top grade.
  • 60% of our research environment received the top grade.
  • 40% of our REF submission overall received the top grade.

More information on Research excellence.

Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs)

In 2013, the University won share of a £350million investment in UK science and engineering postgraduate training. As part of this investment the School now hosts two Centres for Doctoral Training and co-hosts a further centre along with Heriot Watt University.

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Data Science

Data science is an emerging area that focuses on the principles, underlying methods, software, and systems for extracting actionable knowledge from data. The Centre for Doctoral Training in Data Science will train a new generation of data scientists, comprising 50 PhDs over five intake years, with the technical skills and interdisciplinary awareness necessary to become R&D leaders in this emerging area.

Data Science CDT website

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Pervasive Parallelism

Parallelism has become an essential component of mainstream computer systems, pervasive across all scales, from system-on-chip to cloud computing. The new Centre for Doctoral Training in Pervasive Parallelism will seek to develop the research leaders of the future across these areas. The programme, which involves industrial partnerships and engagement, will ensure that research is informed by real world case-studies as well as providing a source of diverse internship opportunities.

Pervasive Parallelism CDT website

The Centre for Doctoral Training in Robotics and Autonomous Systems

The new EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Robotics and Autonomous Systems in Edinburgh will be run in partnership with Heriot-Watt University. It will look to address key challenges for managing interactions between robots and their environments, between multiple autonomous systems, and between robots and humans.

Robotics & Autonomous Systems CDT website

Business development

The commercialisation of academic research adds significant value to the UK economy.

Here at the School of Informatics we approach this through our business development team who help to translate our world-leading research into industrial collaborations, new products and new companies.

Our experienced and dedicated business development team is there to liaise with industry, connect them to the right academics and foster relationships through a number of activities:

  • Consultancy
  • Licensing
  • Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs)
  • Studentships
  • Centre of Innovation
  • Partnerships and Collaborations
  • Networking activities and events

Informatics Innovation for Industry pages

Business creation: Start-ups and spin-outs

In addition to attracting investment into the School through business development activity, the School has also been highly successful at encouraging start ups and spins outs from within its research community, with 61 start ups and spinouts created in the past six years alone.