Usher Institute

Data initiative to tackle digital skills gap

The Usher Institute is delighted to be part of the Data-Driven Innovation Programme.

Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University will work together to train 100,000 people in data skills and help 1,000 organisations through data.

A major initiative has been launched by Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University that includes plans to improve digital skills across south east Scotland.

The new venture is set to transform Edinburgh and its surrounding area into the data capital of Europe.

City Region Deal

The £661m Data-Driven Innovation initiative is a key part of the recently-announced Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.

It aims to train 100,000 people in data skills over the next decade, from computer science specialists to traditional jobs that will increasingly use data.

The £1.3bn Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal was announced by the Prime Minister and First Minister at the University on 7 August.

It aims to drive growth for everyone across the area and includes investment in transport, housing, culture and skills and employability.

This exciting project – backed by £270m of UK Government investment – will ensure that the UK leads the world in technologies of the future and benefits from the economic growth opportunities this brings.

David MundellSecretary of State for Scotland

Data skills

It is estimated that Scotland needs around 13,000 extra workers each year with data skills as the workplace is transformed.

The Scottish Government’s Digital Strategy, published in 2017, includes plans to tackle this digital skills gap while growing the Scottish economy.

Together, the two universities will increase the provision of data science teaching for their students, and support schools and colleges across the region to provide digital skills teaching and training.

The region’s supercomputing capabilities will also be strengthened with investment in a data analysis facility, which will help 1,000 organisations use data to innovate within their sectors.

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

Professor Charlie JefferySenior Vice Principal

Usher Institute - Data-Driven Innovation hub

The Data-Driven Innovation Programme will increase the contribution of university research and in-demand graduate skills to the region’s economy, launching more spinout companies, attracting start-ups and established businesses, and driving public and private sector investment.

Five data-driven innovation ‘hubs’ have been created, housing expertise and facilities to help 10 industrial sectors become more innovative through data. The University of Edinburgh hosts the Bayes Centre, Edinburgh Futures Institute, Easter Bush campus, and the Usher Institute. The National Robotarium is a collaboration between Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh.

Data-Driven Innovation hubs:

Related links

Data-Driven Innovation

City Region Deal