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Ministers’ visit puts seal on City Region Deal

UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon have visited the University to formally agree the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.

Prof Charlie Jeffery and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon walk through the Informatics Forum
Prof Charlie Jeffery and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon walk through the Informatics Forum

Mrs May and Ms Sturgeon signed the Deal at the University’s Bayes Centre, at an event that highlighted data science expertise at the University. They have also visited the Informatics Forum.

The £1.3bn investment is designed to accelerate productivity and inclusive growth through the funding of infrastructure, skills training and innovation.

The University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University are partnering to deliver the City Region Deal’s data-driven innovation component. This aims to increase the contribution of research, data analytics expertise, and graduate skills to the region’s economy.

Over the next decade, five data innovation hubs at the University – the Bayes Centre, Edinburgh Futures Institute, Usher Institute, Easter Bush and, with Heriot-Watt University, the National Robotarium - will use high-speed data analytics to meet industry and societal challenges.

Professor Peter Mathieson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of Edinburgh, said: “I am extremely proud of the role our University has played in helping to develop a City Region Deal that has aligned our unique strengths with the potential for wider regional growth.

“There is tremendous enthusiasm among the University’s staff to use our world-leading research expertise in a range of projects that will tackle the various social and economic challenges in south-east Scotland, and we look forward to working with partners in government and industry to address those needs.

PM Theresa May and Prof Charlie Jeffery walk through the Informatics Forum
PM Theresa May and Prof Charlie Jeffery walk through the Informatics Forum

“The City Region Deal also offers an exciting opportunity for greater inter-disciplinary working between our academic schools and colleges, delivering insights from new areas of research and allowing us to take the lead in the emerging field of data-innovation.”

Professor Charlie Jeffery, Senior Vice Principal, University of Edinburgh, said:

"The University's strengths in data science have been driving innovation in the public and private sectors through our research and the skills our graduates bring into the regional economy for the past decade and more. The City Regional Deal will now give us the capacity to do much more across a wider range of sectors, from healthcare to robotics to fintech.

“But perhaps the most important part of the Deal is our commitment to ensure people in the region can build the skills to flourish in the data-driven economy. So we are working not just in our universities, but also with schools, colleges and businesses across the region so people have the opportunities to develop data skills across the lifecourse - from youngsters about to enter the workforce, to women returning after career breaks, to people looking to reskill in mid-career.

“We know that data-driven innovation will bring economic growth - we want that growth to be inclusive, open to all." 

The UK and Scottish Governments, and regional partners, are investing in the City region over 10 years across transport, housing, culture, skills and employability and innovation. The regional partners include the six local authorities of Edinburgh, Midlothian, East Lothian, West Lothian, Fife and the Scottish Borders, plus universities and colleges in the region.

Partners mark the signing of the City Region Deal
Partners mark the signing of the City Region Deal

Related Links

University to play pivotal role in creating Data Capital of Europe

Bayes Centre

More about the City Region Deal