5 reasons that Scotland is big on big data

For a small country, we’re doing big things with data. Here’s why the Scottish data science sector is booming – and why you should join us.

  • Academic expertise in data science

Scotland may only have 8.3% of the UK’s population, but our universities run 41% of the UK’s data science master’s courses.

Over 3,000 students in Scotland graduate in a computing/informatics discipline each year, and this number is growing thanks to continued investment in data science education. The Data Lab plans to expand its MSc scholarship programme to 130 students for 2017/18 – an increase of over 40% from last year.

  • Support from The Data Lab

The Data Lab is an innovation centre that helps organisations innovate by using data science and analytics. It more than doubled the number of projects that it supported last year, which means its projected contribution to the Scottish economy has jumped to £70m, with the data projects expected to create over 250 new jobs in Scotland.

  • A world-leading data festival

Edinburgh played host to the inaugural DataFest this year, a data festival that explored the successes, challenges and future of data innovation. With a theme of #DataChangesEverything, the event put the spotlight on how data can transform our everyday lives.

DataFest attracted more than 2,000 global data leaders from around the world, with speakers and attendees from over 40 countries.

  • A track record of investment

Scotland boasts a unique infrastructure of world class academic institutions and an inspiring landscape of start-ups and entrepreneurialism, so it’s no wonder we’re seeing more international organisations take advantage of what’s on offer here.

Intel has partnered up with the University of Edinburgh through the Alan Turing Institute to develop algorithms that will influence the future of computing and data analytics. For Intel, Edinburgh was the ideal location to create a hub of expertise that would allow them to engage with the wider data science community.

Data talent was a key reason that Irish company Asystec chose to establish a centre of excellence for big data services in Scotland. The centre focuses on storage and backup solutions, data governance and data management.

Most recently, Morsum, a food tech start-up based in New York, decided to invest $3 million in a data excellence hub in Edinburgh.  Founder Ted D’Cruz cited Edinburgh’s rich data science and academic community as an important factor in his decision to come to Scotland.

  • Homegrown success

Scotland has around 150 companies that are actively engaged in creating data-based solutions - and they’re doing some pretty amazing things.

Some of our key data companies include:

  • Ecometrica – provides a comprehensive software platform for corporate sustainability and data management
  • Aridhia – a cloud-based analysis platform that uses NHS data to provide insight into the root cause of chronic conditions
  • Moneydashboard.com - a personal financial assistant that shows you exactly where your money goes and helps you make better decisions.
  • IDCo – Set out to create a layer of trust in the internet through a trusted online identity system.
  • Brainnwave -  a new and innovative global marketplace for data, committed to democratising the discovery of and access to data to ignite global innovation.
  • Amiqus - a legal-tech software company, building tools that make civil justice available to everyone through open data.

Gillian Docherty, CEO of the Data Lab, has become something of a celebrity in the data world. She was crowned CEO of the Year at the 2017 Digital Tech Awards, and was listed in the top 10 of the UK’s 100 most influential people in data-driven business by DataIQ. She will be speaking in the "Doing Business in Scotland" seminar at the Global Expansion Summit from 12:00pm-1:30pm on 19 June.