Doing Data Better Conference 2021 to explore how data can tackle the biggest modern challenges

Data can be deployed to tackle some of the biggest modern challenges facing mankind - but is also vital in addressing social, economic, environmental and ethical issues at a regional level.

This year's data conference - a joint venture between The Scotsman and DDI - brings together experts from a range of fields.

This week's Doing Data Better conference - hosted by The Scotsman and the Data Driven Innovation (DDI) initiative - will shine a light on projects large and small that are drawing insights from information to make our lives better.

The free-to-attend online conference - which takes place this Thursday, 30 September - is built around four main panel discussions, which will ask how can we do data better to: Tackle climate change; Help prevent future pandemics; Address financial and social exclusion; Rebuild the economy.

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In addition, the event will include four short videos which highlight how research projects funded by the DDI initiative are having a positive impact in areas as diverse as football, homelessness, children's interaction with technology and future healthcare planning.

The researchers all start off their videos by saying "I'm doing data better to..." before explaining the detail of their projects.

Jarmo Eskelinen, executive director of the DDi initiative, part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, said: "This conference is a brilliant opportunity to shine a light on the way that data is supporting so many areas of our lives.

"We have four superb panels of experts looking into the big issues, but the short videos are also vital in explaining the power of data at a more specific regional level."

In one video, Professor Grant Jarvie, founding director of the Academy of Sport at the University of Edinburgh, explains how his project is deploying data to support the football industry in Scotland - vital to so many local communities - get back on its feet.

Dr Andrew Manches, a senior lecturer at the University, talks about how data can be used to support the safe use of technology by children, while Dr Fiona Cuthill's project examines how data can be deployed effectively to support those at risk of homelsessness.

The final video, by Professor Andrea Doeschl-Wilson of The Roslin Institute, looks at deploying data to inform future healthcare planning where there are sudden and unexpected pressures on the NHS - such as during a pandemic.

Mr Eskelinen said: "These videos highlight just four of numerous projects where researchers have been supported by the DDI initiative to use data effectively and intelligently to make a real difference. By supporting this great work, we really are delivering significant benefits - and showing that we truly are doing data better, on a global and on a regional scale."

The conference also features keynote presentations by Jamie Bartlett, author of The People vs Tech, and Allison Schrager, who wrote An Economist Walks Into A Brothel - and Other Unexpected Places to Understand Risk.

To sign up for the free event, visit the website here.