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Data and data science

Scotland is the perfect place to do great things with data. Valuable expertise coupled with a breadth of experience across data-rich industries such as space, health, energy and fintech offer perfect opportunities for business.

Did you know?

The Personal Identification Number (PIN) you use with your credit or debit card was invented by a Scot in the 1960s.

  • 73,700 people

    already make up Scotland's strong digital tech workforce.*

  • 32% of IT specialists are female

    compared with 22% nationally — Scotland leads the UK in gender inclusion.**

  • It's up to 40% more cost-effective

    to locate to Scotland than other parts of the UK.***

*Skills Development Scotland Sectoral Skills Assessment: Digital Technologies (2022)

**BCS Diversity Report: Women in IT (2022) 

***Financial Times FDI Benchmark (2019) — based on a 2000 square metre space software development centre

  • Data capital of Europe

    Scotland is home to the UK's largest school of informatics

    Data is the future. That’s why Scotland is investing a further £661 million into securing our capital city – Edinburgh – as the Data Capital of Europe.

    With over 280 academic and research staff, and more than 2000 taught and research students, the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh is the largest in the UK and one of the largest in Europe.

    Educating undergraduate and postgraduate students via a wide range of courses – including artificial intelligence, cognitive science and computational linguistics – the school is just one of Scotland's many talent pools. What’s more, the school produces more world-leading research than any other university in the UK.

Data analytics skills for specific industries

Scotland is the UK’s largest centre for financial services and fintech outside of London. Alongside strengths in banking, insurance and asset management, Scotland has a vibrant and fast-growing fintech community.

We have a long history of innovation and today Scotland remains one of Europe’s most important business centres. We offer the perfect blend of technological and financial expertise.

Companies such as J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley already have technology operations located here, as well as Barclays Wealth which recently invested in Glasgow with the creation of a new multi-million-pound financial hub which will house its technology team.

Learn more about financial services and fintech opportunities in Scotland 

Digital healthcare is an emerging and exciting global market which is already an area of exceptional strength for Scotland. Thanks to a well-established National Health Service (NHS) – with extensive digital patient records – and a strong company base with expertise in informatics, Scotland has a world-leading research base that collaborates with industry to create commercial healthcare solutions for the future.

Our commitment to making government data accessible, and our ability to analyse vast quantities of data, make Scotland the place to drive opportunities in this space.

Learn more about health tech opportunities in Scotland 

Scotland’s energy know-how has been forged by 50 years of oil and gas experience in the North Sea and data is an important by-product of this activity. In the future, more sustainable and less invasive practices will see a massive increase of sensors and data. This data, and the technology to unlock its value, will become increasingly valuable.

Indigenous companies like Sensor-Works opens in a new window are already using wireless sensors in the energy sectors to enable condition monitoring, lower costs and optimise operational efficiency.

Scotland's renewable energy resources offer big opportunities for international companies in software and IT, particularly in carbon capture, energy storage, and decarbonisation of heat and transport.

Learn more about Scotland's energy transition opportunities 

Now is an exciting time for the new space industry in Scotland. With two spaceports currently in development, Scotland will complete the end-to-end capability to design, build and launch. With this ability comes endless possibilities for data analysis.

At the heart of Scotland’s success is proven small satellite technology, which has exploded the use of downstream satellite data and its associated applications.

With a growing space cluster, Scotland is the ideal place to develop data applications based on satellite-driven intelligence.

From agriculture and marine, to construction and humanitarian efforts, Scotland-based companies like Spire are using data from space to solve problems closer to home.

Learn more about space tech opportunities in Scotland 

What makes Scotland the right choice for your data company and investment

Incubators and accelerators to nurture your first steps

We’re home to CodeBaseopens in a new window , the UK’s largest tech start-up incubator providing office and co-working spaces for more than 100 of the country’s most promising tech companies.

With locations in Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Stirling, the incubators provide affordable and central office space with excellent facilities, meaning businesses can create and innovate without the worry of long-term leases.

Beyond property solutions, CodeBase also hosts events and offers mentorship and business support through its partnership with Barclays Ventures and PwC.

Access talent: artificial intelligence to fintech skills available

From the oldest universities to cutting-edge collaborations, Scotland’s educators work with industry to inform future learning. Here’s just a few examples of how we’re shaping our brightest minds.

The Data Labopens in a new window  is an innovation centre which brings together experts to develop new data science capabilities. With a Scotland-wide presence and skills at its core, The Data Lab has a range of learning programmes to meet the demands of industry. Its MSc programme is a collaboration between 11 universities across Scotland, funding places on post-graduate courses in artificial intelligence, machine learning, fintech, data analytics and more.

The programme is unique in placing students in partner companies, enabling industry and academia to solve real-world challenges together.

Digital skills support for businesses locating in Scotland 

Benefit from ongoing support

Community is important to Scotland – it’s a place where great minds come together. It’s a place where ambitious indigenous companies co-exist with some of the world’s leading tech giants such as Amazon, Adobe and Microsoft.

Underpinning this unique community is a supportive public sector and a government that is a strong advocate of using data for the economic and social benefit of citizens, businesses and research organisations.

ScotlandISopens in a new window represents the digital technology industry in Scotland, from multinationals with a Scottish base to startups. The trade body has strong links across industry, helping companies to network and build their supply chains via access to innovative companies.

How we can help 

Scotland and UNICEF Data for Children Collaboration

Scotland has a unique collaboration with UNICEF to improve the mental health and wellbeing of children across the globe – from tackling childhood obesity to providing access to health services. At its heart is Scotland’s expertise in data science and the ethical use of data.

Read full article 

Child in African classroom writing on blackboard
  • Sharing ideas to tackle challenges

    Community is an important part of Scotland's data story

    Nowhere in the world will you find a more open and collaborative tech community, where great minds in industry and academia come together to share ideas, tackle industry challenges head on and find solutions. Here’s a flavour of just some of the (virtual) events bringing the wider community together:

    • Engage Invest Exploit (EIE) is one of the UK’s largest premier technology investor showcase, connecting global investors and businesses to meet Scotland’s most dynamic high-growth tech startups and scaleups.
    • Turing Fest is one of Europe’s most exciting cross-functional tech conferences. This annual conference is hosted in Edinburgh and is designed to forge new connections between entrepreneurs, technologists and investors from all over the world.
    • Data Fest shines a light on Scotland’s role in data science and artificial intelligence on the international stage. Hosted by the Data Lab, this programme of events allows you the opportunity to interact with industry, academia and data enthusiasts.

You might also be interested in

  • Why Rasa chose Edinburgh

    From Silicon Valley to the 'data capital of Europe', read about Rasa’s ambition for its new technology hub in Edinburgh and talent to match.

  • Data skills to match your needs

    Scotland provides easy access to a growing talent pool of data science skills. It is the location of choice for tech companies looking to set up and grow.

  • Why Cherwell chose Scotland

    Locating one of its research and development hubs in Dundee, Scotland, has delivered unexpected benefits for Colorado-based software business Cherwell.

Need help?

If you have a question about data opportunities in Scotland, our team of advisers can help.