March 2017 will see The Data Lab bring the UK’s first ever week-long data science festival to Scotland

Scotland is poised to lead a data revolution and DataFest17 will bring some of the brightest minds from across the world in data science to Edinburgh. The event will celebrate innovation in data science and will offer the world the chance to see Scotland’s leading data science capabilities.

The festival will begin the week commencing 20 March, with a programme of training events from practical data science to leadership. By harnessing the best in Scottish talent, innovation and expertise it aims to further secure Scotland’s place on the international data science stage.

The event will also span the whole of Scotland where Fringe events including meetups, hackathons, debates and public engagement will be held in locations across Scotland. There is an open call for DataFest17 Fringe events, which will be included in the official programme.

Following the success of Data Talent Scotland in March this year, the one day event returns, on Wednesday 22 March, as part of the DataFest17 programme. Data Talent Scotland will bring together more than 500 attendees linking data talent from 15 Scottish universities with industry and public sector organisations and highlight Scotland’s exceptional data science ecosystem. In the evening an executive dinner will be held for senior leaders considering expanding, or creating, a business presence within Scotland.

Gillian Docherty, chief executive of The Data Lab, said: “Scotland is a world-leader in data science and, in launching DataFest17, we will promote and grow our position on the international stage. The potential benefit of data to Scotland is colossal and by awakening business and the public to the possibilities of data, we can create significant social and economic impact. DataFest17 will explore current and future innovation under the #DataChangesEverything theme. Data affects all parts of our lives and the festival will help us to highlight that.”

The final element of the festival is the Data Summit, which will be held in Edinburgh over 23 and 24 March. The two day international conference presents compelling stories of how #DataChangesEverything with inspiring keynotes and debates.

SpeakerS at the Data Summit include; Dr Hannah Fry, British complex systems theorist, lecturer in the Mathematics of Cities at UCL and presenter of BBC TV’s The Joy of Data and former Chief Scientist at bitly, Hilary Mason who founded technology start up Fast Forward Labs and is Data Scientist in Residence at Accel Partners, which funds companies from inception through the growth stage.

Marc Priestley, former McLaren F1 pit stop crew and expert in British racing technology, will also be sharing his experience with data at the Data Summit and said: “It’s really exciting and important that we help realise the true potential of data and I’m pleased to be supporting DataFest17
and can’t wait to see what it brings. “In Formula One, getting split-second decisions right under pressure can be the difference between success and failure. Instinct and experience can get you so far, but finding the crucial marginal advantages over the opposition may not always be obvious to the ‘naked eye’. Analysing F1 data in the right ways can uncover the opportunities that help teams win races.”

DataFest17 will take place from 20 to 24 March 2017. The festival is supported by The Scottish Government, NHS NSS, Aquila Insights and Sainsbury’s Bank. Tickets to DataFest events and more information can be found on