Jump to navigation Jump to content

The Importance of Data to Life Sciences – and Edinburgh


The theme of the annual Life Sciences Conference, hosted virtually on 3rd December, was the response to COVID-19 and emerging technologies.

The importance of data was a big discussion topic and one of the overarching themes in the Scottish Life Sciences Covid-19 Strategic Response Plan – to prioritise the digital health and science connectivity opportunities for Scotland and improve the use of healthcare data to drive efficiencies, deliver better patient outcomes and attract pharmaceutical R&D investment to Scotland.

The Data-Driven Innovation programme, which forms part of the Edinburgh & SE Scotland City Region Deal, is a massive investment in data driven innovation in Scotland that will drive the regional and Scottish economies. The UK Government has invested £270m, alongside partners, in an ambitious £661m programme that seeks to establish Edinburgh as the Data Capital of Europe.

A new data repository, DataLoch, has been funded as part of the initiative and created jointly by NHS Lothian, Borders and Fife and the University of Edinburgh to bring together health and social care data for the first time, driving forward data-driven approaches to improving care.

The University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute has secured £49.2 million funding towards the new building on Edinburgh BioQuarter. The vision of the Usher Institute is to catalyse the transformation of health in society by working with people, populations and their data.

Professor Aziz Sheikh, Director of the Usher Institute, commented on the wider vision for the Data-Driven Innovation Programme within the Usher Institute. “ Our vision is to create a world-leading innovation hub where public, private and third sectors collaborate to enable data-driven advances in the delivery of health and social care. Through these collaborations, the Usher Institute will support a data-driven approach to the prevention, diagnosis and management of conditions, help improve health and social care provision in the city region and enable the development of a world-leading learning system for health and social care that can potentially be scaled across Scotland and the UK.”

Embedded in the Usher Institute and located at NINE BioQuarter, the Innovative Healthcare Delivery Programme (IHDP), influences how data and analytics are used to drive and improve health outcomes in Scotland.

” The benefits of BioQuarter. Bringing everyone together from data scientists, experimental scientists, clinical research, healthcare innovators -together we can tackle global health challenges.” Professor Stuart Forbes, CRM

The future is bright, the future is data… with Edinburgh as the Data Capital of Europe.