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Data crunching for better health


The Advanced Care Research Centre (ACRC) is a multi-disciplinary research programme combining research across fields including medicine and other care professions, engineering, informatics, data and social sciences.

A key priority of ACRC is research, answering important questions about health and care in later life.

A PhD programme hosted by the ACRC Academy focusses on the next generation to respond to the challenges of an ageing population. Recently, the ACRC ventured even further to encourage and inspire future leaders.

With generous support from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the ACRC reached out to pupils at Gracemount High School, that neighbours Edinburgh BioQuarter, hoping to inspire them to engage with health data science.

The project, ‘Data Crunching for Better Health’, delivered a hands-on two-part course to use Python coding skills to manage and visualise data, as part of the ESRC’s Festival of Social Science in November 2022.

Sessions were designed to be approachable so ACRC team members went to Gracemount High School to build familiarity with the tutors and concepts. Pupils then enjoyed real world experience of live coding in the state-of-the-art robotics laboratory at the School of Informatics – this was highlighted by the school as important in supporting their aim of raising aspirations.

Throughout both days, the engagement and understanding from pupils was excellent, and hopefully several have now identified future career paths that they might not otherwise have considered.

Dr Clare MacRae, MRC Clinical Research Training Fellow and Project Lead for Data Crunching for Better Health

ACRC are planning to develop school outreach resources. If you would like to assist or support in running similar events in your local area or have any questions then please contact the ACRC team, and together we can inspire future data scientists.

The Advanced Care Research Centre (ACRC) is a multi-disciplinary research collaboration within the Usher Institute’s Centre for Population Health Sciences, combining a programme of research and development to deliver innovation and and change to later life care.

The aim of the research programme is to transform care in later life using personalised care enabled by data science, artificial intelligence, assistive technologies and robotics embedded in systems of health and social care which are highly responsive to the wishes, priorities and needs of individual people in later life.