Scotsman conference agenda: Doing data right

Many of the key themes addressed in this supplement – including data ethics, inclusion and diversity, and the balance between innovation, regulation and privacy – will be addressed at a policy conference in Edinburgh on 10 September.

Conference on Data Innovation at Paterson's Land, Edinburgh University Holyrood Campus.

“Doing Data Right: Through People and Partnerships” brings together leaders from business, academia and the public and charity sectors to address the crucial role of data in modern Scotland.

Leading feminist writer and activist Caroline Criado-Perez, pictured, is keynote speaker and will address the issues raised in her best-selling work 
Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, and take part in a panel discussion on the topic of women in data.

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Poppy Gerrard-Abbott will discuss the findings of the Women in Data project – and the apparent lack of confidence of 
women working with data – at the event, organised by The Scotsman in partnership with The University of Edinburgh.

Statistics show that only 10 per cent of directors in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) companies in the FTSE 100 are women, while numbers of young women studying subjects like computer science have dropped despite all the efforts and campaigns to attract more girls and young women into the sector.

Jarmo Eskelinen, director of the Data-Driven Innovation programme (which is putting
£661 million into data as part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal) will speak at the end of the event.

He says: “We’re thrilled to have Caroline as our keynote speaker. She’s done pioneering work in gaining recognition for women in media, politics and society at large. Data-driven services are only as good as the data behind them, and can be discriminating to women because of a conscious or unconscious bias or the development process – Caroline’s work has made the innovators much more aware of this.”

Other speakers on the panel include former MSP Catherine Stihler who is now chief executive of the global non-profit Open Knowledge Foundation – as well as Professor 
Gillian Hogg, of Heriot-Watt
University, and Talat Yaqoob, director of Equate Scotland, which works to encourage more women into STEM subjects.

The event will be chaired by Paul Forrest, chairman of MBN Solutions, and it includes a session on adopting and fostering data innovation in industry.

Speakers in this session include Elizabeth Hollinger, head of analytics and BI at Aggreko, and Firas Khnaisser, chair of Data and Marketing Association Scotland. He will
talk about searching for value in an age of data.

The conference will also hear from Peter Mathieson, Principal of the University of Edinburgh, before concluding with a discussion on data for public good – and specifically the Unicef collaborative described 
earlier in this supplement.

The event builds on The Scotsman’s first data conference last year, which heard that the sector could give Scotland’s economy a major boost – but that this growth would only be sustainable if it was grounded in a culture of responsibility.


9.15 Welcome from the chair. Paul Forrest – chair, MBN Solutions

9.20 Vision for the DDI programme. Jarmo Eskelinen– Data-Driven Innovation Programme, University of Edinburgh

Session 1: Adopting and fostering data innovation in industry

9.40 Using analytics to drive innovation. Elizabeth Hollinger, Agrekko

10.00 How machine learning can transform the future of retail banking. Ed Broussard, CEO, Mudano

10.50 Data: Then, Now, and in the Future. Mark Byrne, Accenture Scotland Applied Intelligence lead

11.10 Searching for value in the age of data. Firas Khnaisser, chair, DMA Scotland

11.30 Panel discussion on session with previous three speakers and Ruth Donnelly and Professor Bruce Whitelaw of the University of Edinburgh

13.15 Keynote address. Peter Mathieson, principal, University of Edinburgh

Session 2: Woman in data

13.20 Keynote address. Caroline Criado-Perez

13.40 Panel discussion. Introduction from Poppy Gerrard-Abbott, PhD Student, University of Edinburgh; Caroline Criado Perez; Catherine Stihler, Open Knowledge Foundation; Gillian Hogg, Heriot-Watt University; Talat Yaqoob, Equate Scotland

There will be four break-out sessions, with delegates able to pick two from these areas: research highlights; design informatics; final session – Data for Children Collaborative with Unicef

15.55 Panel discussion. Stefaan Verhulst, co-founder GovLab, NYU and chair of the Data for Children Collaborative with Unicef; Lesley McAra, director, Edinburgh Futures Institute; Lucinda Rivers, head of Unicef Scotland; Mahmood Adil, clinical & public health lead, NHS NSS; Roger Halliday, chief statistician, Scottish Government.

16.40 Closing remarks. Jarmo Eskelinen– Data-Driven Innovation Programme, University of Edinburgh.

Doing Data Right is a free event and will be held in the John McIntyre Conference Centre at the University of Edinburgh’s Pollock Halls. See for further information.