Usher Institute

Data-Driven Innovation - update

What is the City Region Deal, the Data-Driven Innovation Programme and what's next for the Usher Institute?

Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal

The Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal was officially signed in August 2018. It aims to accelerate productivity and inclusive growth through the funding of infrastructure, skills and innovation. The UK and Scottish governments and regional partners are collectively investing £1.3bn over 10 years in transport, housing, culture, skills and employability and innovation. The University of Edinburgh is a Partner in the Deal.

The University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University are leading on the delivery of the Data-Driven Innovation component, which was included in the Deal in recognition of the region’s strengths in technology and data science, the growing importance of the data economy for everyone, and the need to tackle the digital skills gap.

City Region Deal website

Data-Driven Innovation

The Data-Driven Innovation programme aims to establish the region as the Data Capital of Europe; drawing inward investment, fuelling entrepreneurship and delivering inward economic growth.

The programme seeks to create impact through data-driven innovation across the region in ten sectors:

  • Public sector
  • Financial services
  • Fintech
  • Tourism and festivals
  • Creative tech
  • Agritech
  • Robotics and autonomous systems
  • Space and satellite
  • Digital tech
  • Health and social care.

Data-Driven Innovation Programme website

Health and social care sector - the Usher Institute

The Usher Institute is one of five delivery hubs as part of this Data-Driven Innovation (DDI) programme. Focussing on the health and social care sector, we will drive innovation at scale by integrating the activities of: clinicians, life scientists and data scientists to identify new, co-produced insights in identified areas of challenge; and industry and public sector organisations to extract, apply and commercialise expert knowledge. Each of the delivery hubs have targets under the themes of 'Talent, Research, Adoption, Data and Entrepreneurship' to help focus our work in this area.

Usher Institute new building

The new Usher Institute building at Edinburgh BioQuarter is part of a programme of strategic asset development which will help us to deliver to the aims of the DDI Programme. It will make the shift for the Usher Institute from a virtual to a physical world-class innovation hub for health and social care. The building will be home to Usher Institute staff and students and the NHS Lothian ACCORD office as well as having space available to lease encouraging industry partners to co-habit with Usher Institute and NHS staff, and co-working spaces for SMEs, including sector start-ups and scale-ups.

The Usher Institute new building project is into Stage 3 design, with an anticipated completion date of 2023.

What is next for the Usher Institute?

The outline business case to formally secure UK & Scottish Government investment for the new Usher Institute building, and confirm our associated DDI deliverables, has recently been submitted. We will be working with the UK and Scottish Governments, and City Region Deal partners to finalise and agree the business case by the end of September 2019. Once the business case is approved the team will be working across the University to develop pathways for staff to engage with the DDI Programme and deliver health and social care related programmes and projects.

There will be further communication in autumn 2019. 

In the interim, if you have any queries, please email Colan Mehaffey, COO, or Jerome de Barros, Sector Lead.