A new £11.3 million innovation centre dedicated to helping Scotland capitalise on the growing market in analytics and ‘big data’ technology is set to open later this year. The investment is projected to return a minimum of 345 new jobs and an additional £155 million of value to the Scottish Economy.
The Data Lab, the name for the centre and funded by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and with support from Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, will revolutionise the way in which Scottish industry develops and applies cutting-edge analytics and data science techniques to capture new market opportunities and boost productivity.
The centre will build on innovation from Scotland’s world-leading university sector and transform the way in which industry, public sector and academic institutions collaborate. The Data Lab bid was industry-led, headed by the Scottish Technology Advisory Group’s Big Data Lead, ScotlandIS, Lockheed Martin, DC Thomson-owned brightsolidand SAS, one of the world’s largest software companies. With Hub locations in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, Data Lab’s focus will be on the Digital Technology, Energy, Financial Services, Healthcare, and Public Sector markets.
Laurence Howells, Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council, said:“Tablets, kindles, mobile phones, online shopping; we all use and generate massive amounts of data each day. Our £11.3 million investment will support The Data Lab to develop innovative techniques that will improve many aspects of our lives, from efficient energy use, personalised online shopping, through to faster and more effective medical care.”
Neil Logan, Chairman of The Data Lab and Chief Technology Officer for Lockheed Martin Business Technology Solutions, said: “The amount of data in the world is estimated to be doubling every two years and many organisations are struggling to cope. The Data Lab will help Scottish industry unlock value from data and enable new opportunities to be developed in collaboration with our world-leading universities. I’m excited at the opportunity of partnering with organisations across a number of sectors including: information and communication technology, energy, financial services, health and public services. The SFC’s investment, together with support from Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, helps ensure that Scotland takes a leading role in this exciting growth market”.
Charlotte Wright, HIE’s Director of Sector and Business Development, said: "Digital technologies are increasingly a vital part of community life and business growth. Technology changes how we live and work, how we deliver services and how we learn. Through the Digital Highlands and Islands programme we are rolling our Next Generation Broadband across the region to help our businesses and communities make the most of the growing opportunities. We look forward to working with the Data Lab and expect growing engagement with and opportunities for our growing digital healthcare sector in the fields of informatics and computer science."
Malcolm Dobson, Group Chief Technology Officer, DC Thomson,said: “The Data Lab offers a fantastic opportunity for businesses like brightsolid to help bridge the gap between Scotland’s world-leading University research in data science and the commercial potential for Scotland to be a leader in this fast growing global market. I think it is a game-changer.”
Jim McCumesty, Software Development Director, SAS R&D Scotland, said: “In Scotland, we have the opportunity to take a lead in the global efforts to deliver real financial benefit from the ‘new oil’ that is big data. The Data Lab represents a transformational step in providing a Scottish hub to bring together the best of business and academia with a focus on innovation, using the best tools and expertise to deliver real value from our big data assets.”
Professor Aaron Quigley, Director for Knowledge Exchange for the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance, said, “The launch of this Data Science Innovation Centre presents us the vital opportunity to connect growing, data-attuned industries with world-leading academic expertise in all areas of data science. It positions the Data Lab to become a world leader in Data Science, and the place academia and industry come for Data Science innovation and leadership. Across 14 Universities we are looking forward to working with industry on breakthrough innovation, by drawing on cutting-edge research to produce new products, jobs, services and insights.”
Data Lab will focus on delivering 100+ new collaborative innovation projects; educating 1,000+ professionals through a range of education programmes; and strengthening the local community through workshops and high-profile events. The Data Lab will launch later this year.