Everything you need to know about The Scotsman's Doing Data Better 2021 conference

Data is being deployed to tackle some of our greatest global challenges - from responding effectively to future pandemics to leading the economic recovery from the damaging effects of Covid-19.

Accenture's Mark Byrne addresses the 2019 Scotsman Data conference

The way that we collect, analyse and draw insights from data in all these areas, and more, is the focus of the annual conference organised by The Scotsman and Data-Driven Innovation initiative (DDI).

Doing Data Better takes place online on 30th September, with speakers examining different ways in which data is making a real difference to big issues, both global and local.

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It is built around four expert panel discussions and two keynote speakers - Jamie Bartlett, broadcaster and author of The People vs Tech: How the Internet is Killing Democracy (and how we save it) and Allison Shrager, who works across finance, policy and media and is the author of An Economist Walks into a Brothel: And Other Unexpected Places to Understand Risk.

The event focuses on four big areas:

- Doing Data Better to tackle climate change;

- Doing Data Better to help prevent future pandemics;

- Doing Data Better to address social and financial exclusion; and

- Doing Data Better to help rebuild the economy.

The event will also include contributions by the UK Government and Scottish Government, who both supported the creation of the DDI initiative as part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal. The DDI is an innovation network helping organisations tackle challenges for industry and society by doing data right to support Edinburgh in its ambition to become the data capital of Europe.

There will also be a series of short videos featuring projects supported by the DDI initiative, with researchers explaining how they are Doing Data Better to help inform their work. Topics include everything from better healthcare planning for future pandemics and tackling homlessnes to the ‘Internet of Toys’ and helping the Scottish football industry get back on its feet.

The event builds on two previous conferences organised by The Scotsman and the DDI initiative: Doing Data Right, in 2019, which focused on ethics, and 2020’s Doing Data Together, which had the core theme of collaboration.

Jarmo Eskelinen, Executive Director of the Data-Driven Innovation initiative, said: “Data has been at the forefront of the global response to the Covid-19 pandemic and there is a growing public understanding of its immense value to sound and evidence-based decision-making.

“This conference takes some of the fundamental themes of our time and shines a light on how data - and data-driven innovation - can really make a difference. There is some amazing work going on in all these areas in Edinburgh and we want to illustrate the impacts we are having at both a local and global level.

“This ranges from deploying data to help support communities affected by climate change to identifying how we can rebuild the Edinburgh city region economy after the huge challenges caused by the pandemic - which has had a disproportionate impact on a city region heavily based on tourism and hospitality.”

Panellists in the rebuilding the economy session include Joshua Ryan-Saha, DDI lead on Tourism and Festivals and Liz McAreavey, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce.

The session on lessons for future pandemics will be chaired by Professor Bruce Whitelaw, a University of Edinburgh expert in One Health - the way that human and animal health interact with the environment and how we can merge those disciplines to deliver greater insights. The session will feature experts from a range of fields - including antimicrobial resistance, virus surveillance, public policy and food security - to ‘join the dots’ in this complex area.

Professor Sandy Tudhope, Head of the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh, will chair the session on data and climate change, with panellists including Heriot-Watt University’s Professor Susan Krumdieck, a global expert in the use of data in the world’s energy transition.

Nicola Anderson, Chief Executive of FinTech Scotland, speaks on the panel on doing data better to address social and financial inclusion, alongside Tynah Matembe, founder and CEO of MoneyMatix.

Neil McIntosh, Editor of The Scotsman, said: “We are delighted to have pulled together such a talented and diverse line-up and I am looking forward to an informative and inspirational event.

“These are massive topics which really matter to people’s lives - how can we help prevent future pandemics, what can we do to tackle climate change, how do we build a more inclusive society and how do we rebuild our economy? Data innovation is at the heart of these big conversations and this is a brilliant way to showcase the excellent work being done in Scotland.”

Jarmo Eskelinen added: “After looking at the ethics of data and some of the great collaborations going on in the data field, this is a natural next step. By doing data right, doing data together and doing data better, we can create a better future world.”

For more details and to book your place, go to: www.scotsmandataconference.co.uk