Why Scotland’s the place to do great things with data

Scotland is a growing and dynamic country with an exciting future at the heart of the data science revolution - an estimated £20 billion opportunity for the economy. Our thinking around artificial intelligence and the use of data for business is big. Our ambition is even bigger.

Scotland's data ecosystem

Data is the future. That’s why we’re investing £661 million in our vision of turning our capital city into the ‘Data Capital of Europe’.

Scotland’s ambitious 10-year Data-Driven Innovation programme will work with partners in government, industry, and educational institutions to make Scotland the No.1 location of choice for data science startups and data science companies.

You’ll find excellence in education, a nation of invention and dedicated research hubs across the country. You can be confident that Scotland has a talent pool with the skills and experience required to grow your business. And, with a highly responsive skills and education system, we’ll meet your needs both now and in the future.

An environment bursting with innovation

Scotland’s innovative culture has created more university spin outs here than anywhere else in the UK, including London. Scotland has eight innovation centres and the University of Edinburgh is one of the UK’s top research universities in computer science.

We also punch above our weight in this area globally, rubbing shoulders with the top 20 research institutions worldwide. 

More about innovation in Scotland

Scotland: Where Ideas Become Legend

Our community is well connected

We have a strong presence in, and access to, many data-rich industries offering the greatest global opportunities, including:

Digital tech talent is readily available in Scotland

We have 93,500 people working in roles across digital technologies, within companies that are doing exciting things in data science, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, space, cyber security, ecommerce, software, telecomms and media.

Scotland creates 5,700 new information technology graduates every year. Learn about the support available from Skills Development Scotland to help you access that data science talent.

Computer games students, Abertay University

Scotland's future-proofed workforce 

Data has an important role to progress our society. That’s why we’re committed to training 100,000 people in the application of data. Explore the Bayes Centre, Europe’s largest training hub in data sciences, and the University of Edinburgh's School of Informatics, the largest European centre of its kind with over 450 staff and 850 students.

You can also benefit from a pipeline of work-ready digital talent via CodeClan, Scotland's accredited skills academy. 

Scotland is a competitive location for business

It’s up to 40% more cost effective to locate in Scotland than other parts of the UK.

Home to tech unicorns

Scotland’s national animal is the mythical horned creature but it’s also home to tech unicorns. Edinburgh-based fintech giant FNZ is Scotland’s latest startup to reach 'unicorn' status. The company now holds around £330 billion in assets globally.

Compare locations for cost of living

School of Informatics, Informatics Forum, Edinburgh

Your business could be going places

By locating to Scotland, you can access our highly educated workforce and renowned academic institutions, which have an outstanding record of industry engagement. We’ve invested significantly in our universities and innovation centres, creating a unique tech hub and spirited community.

At the heart of this ethos is The Data Lab, an innovation centre where industry, the public sector and world-class researchers can come together to develop new data science capabilities in a collaborative environment. With a Scotland-wide presence, The Data Lab is focused on delivering a range of activities around collaborative innovation, skills and training and community building as well as leading Scotland’s strategy to unlock the social and economic potential of artificial intelligence (AI).

Phase 2 of the centre's growth plan saw it secure £13.5 million Scottish Government investment over 5 years from April 2019. This new funding will allow The Data Lab to improve data innovation’s economic impact on Scotland, generate more jobs and build on its growing global reputation. It also includes supporting 665 new data science Masters (MScs), ensuring a pipeline of talent into Scottish businesses.

Our greatest thinkers are ready to collaborate with you

Community is important to Scotland - it's a place where great minds come together. Eleven universities are already collaborating with The Data Lab to grow the supply chain of data science expertise. Scotland is also home to ambitious indigenous tech companies with data at their core as well as some of the world’s leading tech giants such as Amazon and Oracle. 

We're home to CodeBase, the UK's largest tech startup incubator providing office and co-working spaces for more than 100 of the country's most promising tech companies.

Underpinning this unique community is a supportive public sector, and a government that’s a strong advocate of the use of data for societal and economic benefit and supports uptake through its investments in infrastructure and innovation. 

Matching quality of work with quality of life

Beyond the office, Scotland is a land of great natural beauty and our warmth and hospitality are world-renowned. Our friendly communities combine an exceptional quality of life with low cost of living, making the move to Scotland an attractive option for you and your employees.

Our progressive government policies strive to make Scotland a fairer and better place to live and work, for citizens and residents alike.

We’d love you to join the many top global tech businesses that choose to locate, operate and grow in Scotland alongside our ambitious local companies. And we’re here for you throughout the journey – with support before, during and after you locate.

Read our blog on why Scotland is the best place to live and set up your business

Big data industry examples in Scotland

Got a question about trade with or investment in Scotland? We’re always ready to help.

Scotland's tech news and insights

City Quay in Dundee's Maritime Quarter, Victoria Dock © VisitScotland / Kenny Lam


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