Data Science Skills Development Symposium

Type of event: 


The Symposium report is now available:

Data Science Skills Development Symposium: Edinburgh

Original Post

The event will be facilitated by Professor Chris Speed, Chair of Design Informatics at Edinburgh College of Art and Steve Brewer from the University of Southampton and the EDISON EU Horizon 2020 project.


09:30 Registration, coffee and pastries

10:00 Welcome and Introduction: Steve Brewer

10:15 Opening keynote: design thinking and data - Chris Speed

10:50 Break

11:15 Session 1: educator’s perspective

  • Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS): Frank Kloos and Maaike Van Cruchten

  • Design Informatics, University of Edinburgh, School of Informatics: Benjamin Bach

  • EDISON Data Science Framework (EDSF): Steve Brewer

  • Discussion

12:45 Lunch

13:45 Session 2: employer’s perspective

  • MakoLab, Lodz: Mirek Sopek

  • Wallscope: David Eccles

  • NHS National Services Scotland: Ken Nicholson

  • Discussion

15:15 Break

15:45 Session 3: policy perspective

  • Edinburgh DataLab: Joshua Ryan-Saha

  • Scottish Exchange of Data (ScotXed), Scottish Government: TBC

  • Discussion

17:00 Follow on actions and summing up

18:00 Networking reception

Target audience:

The event has been designed to benefit the following:

  • Those involved in teaching and training related to data science

  • Employers, managers and leaders interested in data

  • Policy makers, especially in education

  • Design thinkers interested in data

  • Politicians interested in jobs in Scotland

Anticipated outcomes:

  • Increased awareness about data science: skills, jobs, benefits and opportunities

  • Raise profile (even higher) for data science and data-related jobs in Edinburgh and Scotland

  • Network building across the data science community

  • Ideas for future events, collaborations and other initiatives

About the organisers:

The motivation for this event was a series of conversations that took place during DataFest 2017 which took place in Edinburgh in March. Steve Brewer is from the EU-funded EDISON project which is championing professional roles in data science and David Eccles is from Wallscope which has spent some time developing services and tools which support the Data Science function. Both have a keen interest in the future of a data-dependent world.


The EU-funded EDISON project was funded to build the profession of data science to serve the needs of research infrastructure and many other areas besides. The project has produced a framework capturing the competences needed for data science and matching these to various career pathways and roles to support employers better understand how to recruit, upskill and manage teams around data science activities. The framework also provides a wealth of material for those developing and delivering teaching and training for data science.


Founded by David Eccles and Ian Allaway, Wallscope was incorporated in 2014 to develop technologies associated with ‘big data’ – data sets that are so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate to deal with them. Their focus is on the application of Artificial Intelligence using semantic web techniques and linked data principles to improve the search and discovery of information. They are motivated to lower the barriers for accessing knowledge to improve the health, wealth and sustainability of the world we share. Wallscape is based at the Codebase co-working hub located next to Edinburgh Castle.

The Data Lab: Edinburgh

The Data Lab enables industry, public sector and world-class university researchers to innovate and develop new data science capabilities in a collaborative environment. Its core mission is to generate significant economic, social and scientific value from big data.

CodeBase: Edinburgh

CodeBase is the UK’s largest startup incubator, home to more than 80 of the country’s best technology companies. They champion businesses tackling big challenges with technology, and work tirelessly to support the development of a more diverse and competitive European digital industry.

About the contributors

Frank Kloos – Interaction Design Specialist

For over 20 years, Frank has been an interaction design professional and is currently a lecturer at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.


Maaike Van Cruchten - Digital Media Design

Maaike has a background in digital media, video making and editing. Nowadays she combines freelance video and animation work with teaching at the University of Applied Sciences in Amsterdam at the school for Communication and Multi Media Design (CMD). At CMD she works on projects involving Infographics and Data Visualization, Prototyping and Motion Design. She made a personal documentary that screened on several filmfestivals. Recently she created a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on Prototyping Interaction for designers.

Maaike is mainly interested in the story that’s conveyed by all these different media. Twenty years ago she graduated at the University of Amsterdam with a thesis on Alexander the Great and the way his life is captured in stories throughout the ages when digital culture didn’t exist. She loves to learn new digital techniques to reveal the great stories that are untold so far.


Chris Speed

Chris Speed is Chair of Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh where his research focuses upon the Network Society, Digital Art and Technology, and The Internet of Things. Chris has sustained a critical enquiry into how network technology can engage with the fields of art, design and social experience through a variety of international digital art exhibitions, funded research projects, books journals and conferences.


Mirek Sopek

Mirek Sopek, PhD graduated from the Faculty of Technical Physics, Information Technology and Applied Mathematics of Lodz University of Technology. He obtained his doctoral degree at the Faculty of Chemistry in the field of Theoretical Chemistry. He worked as assistant professor and lecturer at Lodz University of Technology (molecular modelling), the University of Humanities and Economics (e-commerce/cryptography) and the National Film School in Lodz (computer graphics). In 1989, he founded Mako Typesetting, which he transformed into MakoLab in 1993.


Ken Nicholson - NHS National Services Scotland

Ken Nicholson has worked NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) Information Services Division (ISD) for over 15 years. He has worked in a variety of data analytics roles over that time and is currently developing the Data Scientist role within ISD with a particular focus on data visualisation and machine learning. He is also involved with the flagship CivTech® programme working with Wallscope and Symphonic to deliver new innovative technology to ISD. In his time he has been involved in bringing modern data visualisation and data virtualisation to NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) and has worked on a variety of ISD flagship projects such as NSS Discovery, Primary Care, and Source.


Benjamin Bach

Benjamin is a Lecturer in Design Informatics and Visualization at the University of Edinburgh, School of Informatics. His research designs and investigates interactive information visualizations to help people explore, present, and understand information hidden in data.


Further information:

Contact: Steve Brewer -



The event has been made possible by the EDISON project: 
The EDISON project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 675419



Additional sponsorship also kindly provided by The Datalab, Scotland - 


The Datalab logo

Event date: 
Thursday, 1 June, 2017 - 16:30 to Saturday, 3 June, 2017 - 16:30