Innovation centre builds on success of inaugural Scottish data festival

Hannah Fry

The BBC’s Joy of Data presenter and University College London researcher, Dr Hannah Fry is returning as a guest speaker at DataFest18 after the success of this year’s event.

Hosted by innovation centre The Data Lab, DataFest18 will be held over five days, from the 19 to 23 March next year. Organisers said the news secures the festival’s place as an annual event, and Scotland’s position as an “epicentre of international data-driven problem solving”.


Next year’s year’s festival will focus on collaboration and bringing a variety of skills, specialities and sectors together to achieve innovation in data science under the banner #DataChangesEverything.

More than 2000 participants attended DataFest17 in March, ranging from school children to politicians, academics to key industry players. Speakers included former chief scientist at Bitly and founder of Fast Forward Labs, Hilary Mason, and Marc Priestly, former McLaren F1 pit stop crew and expert in British racing technology.

DataFest18 will seek to build on 2017’s list of world class speakers, and further increase international participation and academic involvement, with plans to boost participation by some 500 additional attendees.

A hotbed of data

The 2018 itinerary will include all of the events that proved popular in 2017, such as the two day Data Summit, and Data Talent, as well as aiming to to increase the number of fringe events around the country.

Gillian Docherty, CEO The Data Lab

Gillian Docherty

“The success of DataFest17 meant that DataFest18 was never in doubt, and we fully intend for 2018 to be bigger and better,” said Gillian Docherty, chief executive of The Data Lab. “We want to extend our reach even further throughout Scotland and we’ll be building in more innovation showcases and technical content.

“Scotland is an exciting hotbed of data that can be utilised to improve so many lives, and The Data Lab is working hard to ensure the benefits of data to Scotland are fully realised. The launch of DataFest18 is a product of our continued success and provides an exciting opportunity to further our message.”