Audit points to city and region's digital potential

A University-led report has identified the need for more investment into Edinburgh and the surrounding area to maximise its position as an international digital powerhouse.

The Science and Innovation Audit (SIA), commissioned by the UK Government, focussed on data-driven innovation (DDI) in the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region.

Unlocking opportunities

The report says that by 2025, with the right investment, the region will be a destination of choice for data-led organisations and a digital cluster that is the best in Europe in terms of its size and dynamism.

By that date, public-private-third sector partnerships in and around Edinburgh have the potential to secure £500 million of investment, unlock economic opportunities worth in excess of £5 billion, and deliver 50,000 new jobs plus a further 50,000 up-skilled jobs.

As a nation, our lives are being transformed by technology at a tremendous rate. The Science and Innovation Audit provides a strategy for the region to be economic beneficiary of this data revolution, rather than just a passive consumer. It has highlighted the need to work more closely together to develop the digital and analytical talent we need to thrive in the face of global competition.

Kevin CollinsAssistant Principal Industry Engagement

Existing strengths

The University led on the report with a consortium including local businesses, the City of Edinburgh Council, Scottish Enterprise, Interface, ScotlandIS, the Data Lab innovation centre and Innovation Centres Scotland.

It identified Edinburgh and its surrounding area’s existing world-class strengths in a range of digital industries and expertise in speech and video recognition.

There are currently more than 21,000 jobs in the region linked to the digital and technology economy and more than 15,000 students studying STEM subjects.

Boosting partnerships

The SIA has already increased interactions between the partners around DDI and related themes such as innovation hubs, low carbon and Internet of Things networks.

It has also boosted collaboration across academic boundaries within the University.

Our Edinburgh development centre reflects the world class data science capability and talented individuals that live and work here. The quality of life offered in Scotland’s capital city enables us to attract top talent from around the world, so that we can offer Silicon Valley jobs here in the heart of Edinburgh.

Graeme Smith Managing Director, Amazon Development Centre

Government announcement

The report is one of the UK’s first projects to capitalise on regional excellence in science and innovation.

The publication was announced by Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Similar audits have been undertaken in South West England and South East Wales; Sheffield City Region and Lancashire; Greater Manchester and East Cheshire; and the Midlands.

Download full report

Related links

Science and Innovation Audits: First Wave Reports

Scottish Enterprise

City of Edinburgh Council

Scotland IS


The Data Lab