The University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University’s Data-Driven Innovation (DDI) initiative has published its first annual review, highlighting progress across a range of projects, from empowering students to become change agents to revolutionising cancer surgery with robotics.
The review highlights examples of data-driven research, external partnerships and education, showcasing diverse activities across six data-driven innovation hubs – which includes the Edinburgh Futures Institute.
The six hubs are opening as part of funding secured via the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal. The Bayes Centre, Easter Bush Agritech Hub, National Robotarium, and Edinburgh International Data Facility have already opened. The Edinburgh Futures Institute and new Usher Institute building are due to complete construction over the next year.
The annual review features case studies which have been produced in podcast, video and article formats, providing accessible and shareable insights into the essential work of the community of researchers and partners whose work has been supported by the DDI initiative – including a podcast interview with EFI Director Chris Speed.
Jarmo Eskelinen, DDI’s executive director, said:
“It is a great privilege to lead an innovation programme of this scale and ambition. One of my drivers as DDI’s director is to help our hubs form a unified innovation platform, allowing researchers to work together at the crossroads of academic disciplines where exciting innovations can take place. This year’s review highlights the breadth of the initiative and – most importantly – the talented researchers who are realising the DDI ambitions of both the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University.”
In the academic year 2021-22, £95.6m of DDI-related research income was awarded to the University of Edinburgh and 35 start-ups were supported to either form a company or move beyond their current funding stage. As part of its remit to increase data skills, 19,556 students completed a DDI-related programme or course.
With all DDI hubs becoming operational, 2023 marks the halfway milestone in the 10-year DDI delivery timeline, with the hubs adding 53,000 square metres of innovation space to Edinburgh – the equivalent of ten football pitches.