Usher Institute

Health and Social Care Data-Driven Innovation

The Usher Institute hosts the Health and Social Care Data-Driven Innovation Programme and is a delivery hub within the Data-Driven Innovation initiative of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.

Through the application of data science, the Health and Social Care Data-Driven Innovation Programme is driving innovation in health and social care that improves lives.

Due to open in 2024, the new Usher building at Edinburgh BioQuarter will become a world-leading hub where health and social care research teams collaborate with colleagues from public, private and third sector organisations to deliver data-driven advances in health and social care.

A newly established Usher Innovation Community will integrate the activities of service professionals, academics and industry to identify new, co-produced insights and solutions to our most pressing health and care challenges.

This community will draw on Scotland’s mature and world-leading health data assets, including 'DataLoch' - a unique and secure data service supporting transformative research and innovation for the region and beyond. Robust, efficient governance and data-sharing protocols have been developed in partnership with the National Health Service, informed by public perspectives.

An ambitious Talent programme will provide a suite of education and training to support a future workforce with the knowledge and skills to drive the use of data and digital technologies to transform the delivery of care.

Usher Institute Director: Professor Sir Aziz Sheikh

Senior Responsible Officer: Professor Nicholas Mills (Deputy: Professor Ewen Harrison)

Partnerships and Marketing Lead: Colleen Hubbard

Data-Driven Innovation Initiative

The University of Edinbugh | Data-Driven Innovation | UK Government | Scottish Government | City Region Deal logos

The DDI initiative includes work across ten industry sectors; including Health and Social Care and Public Sector. The delivery hubs each focus on industry sectors in their area of expertise, coming together to help Edinburgh to become the Data Capital of Europe, creating wider benefits for the economy and society.

The delivery hubs

Bayes Centre

Easter Bush - Agritech

Edinburgh Futures Institute

National Robotarium (in partnership with Heriot-Watt)

Usher Institute

EIDF (Edinburgh International Data Facility)

Find out more on the Data-Driven Innovation Initiative website

Health and Social Care Sector

The Usher Institute leads on activity within the DDI initiative focussed on the health and social care sector, hosting the Health and Social Care Data-Driven Innovation Programme.  In September 2019 the City Region Deal Joint Committee approved the full Usher Institute business case, which will enable data-driven advances across the sector.

Key programmes of work which have approved funding from the DDI initiative currently include:

Usher Innovation Community

A growing community of innovators focused on data-led improvements in health and social care.


DataLoch logo
A collaboration between the South East Scotland region’s Local Authorities, NHS health boards and The University of Edinburgh that will help generate insights and innovation in health and social care.

Talent programme

Photo of students talking in Potterow
An ambitious plan for education and training will deliver new data capability for the health and social care sector.

Data-Driven Entrepreneurship

Financed by the Scottish Funding Council through DDI (Data-Driven Innovation), the University of Edinburgh is hosting a series of programmes to advance data-driven entrepreneurship and support a recovering society. These activities offer huge opportunities to innovative and entrepreneurial students, academics and staff at the University to develop their ideas, build their skills and connect their ideas to the world. There are also opportunities for external digital start-ups and scale-up companies to join programmes like the Accelerator and benefit from the expertise and talent on offer in Edinburgh.

More information can be found on the Data-Driven Entrepreneurship programme homepage.