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Ministers’ visit puts seal on City Region Deal

In August, UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited the University of Edinburgh to formally agree the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.

Mrs May and Ms Sturgeon signed the Deal at the University’s Bayes Centre, highlighting the role of data science expertise in the City Region Deal.

The £1.3bn investment is designed to accelerate productivity and inclusive growth through the funding of infrastructure, skills training and innovation.

Welcoming the ambition to make Edinburgh the data capital of Europe, the Prime Minister said: “We are providing capital investment to develop new data storage and analysis technology here in Edinburgh.

This great new facility, the Bayes Centre, will open in the autumn with UK Government investment, and will provide shared working spaces for applied data science and artificial intelligence research teams.

It is one of five hubs across the city that will use data technology to support research and development activity in sectors of the future, from fin-tech and robotics to bio tech and health sciences.”

The UK and Scottish Governments, and regional partners, are investing in the City region over 15 years across transport, housing, culture, skills and employability and innovation.

Professor Charlie Jeffery, Senior Vice Principal of the University of Edinburgh, commented that university strengths in data science have been driving innovation in the public and private sectors through research and graduate skills: “The City Region Deal will give us the capacity to do much more across a wider range of sectors, from healthcare to robotics to fintech. But perhaps the most important part of the Deal is our commitment to ensure people in the region can build the skills to flourish in the data-driven economy.

So we are working not just in our universities, but also with schools, colleges and businesses across the region so people have the opportunities to develop data skills across the lifecourse – from youngsters about to enter the workforce, to women returning after career breaks, to people looking to reskill in mid-career. We know that data-driven innovation will bring economic growth – we want that growth to be inclusive, open to all.”

The regional partners include the six local authorities of Edinburgh, Midlothian, East Lothian, West Lothian, Fife and the Scottish Borders, plus universities and colleges in the region.