Advanced Care Research Centre

Data crunching for better health

In our latest blog, Dr Clare MacRae takes data science to grass roots.

Children and teacher using computer for data science

Our key priority at the ACRC is research, answering important questions about health and care in later life, but we like to keep an eye on the future.

While our PhD programme, the ACRC Academy, focusses on the next generation, recently we ventured even further.

With generous support from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) we reached out to pupils at Gracemount High School, that neighbours Edinburgh BioQuarter, hoping to inspire them to engage with health data science.

School pupils use computer for data science

The project, ‘Data Crunching for Better Health’ delivered a hands-on two-part course as part of the ESRC’s Festival of Social Science in November 2022. Pupils used Python coding skills to manage and visualise data.

We wanted the sessions to be approachable, so we went to the school building to build familiarity with the tutors and concepts. The pupils then enjoyed real world experience of live coding in the state-of-the-art robotics laboratory at the School of Informatics. This was highlighted by the school as important in supporting their aim of raising aspirations.

School Pupil using PC for data science

Throughout both days, the engagement and understanding from the pupils was excellent, and hopefully several of them have identified future career paths they might not otherwise have considered.

We are planning to develop our school outreach resources, so please get in touch if you would like to work with us to run similar events in your local area or have any questions. We are looking forward to reaching out to lots of future data scientists!


Dr Clare MacRae

MRC Clinical Research Training Fellow and Project Lead for Data Crunching for Better Health;