The Data Lab launches new digital community to support Scotland’s economic recovery

Brian Hills, The Data Lab Deputy CEO

SCOTLAND’s innovation centre for data and AI, The Data Lab, has launched a new digital community, designed to contribute to Scotland’s economic and social recovery, in a post-pandemic and increasingly digital world.

Available to join from today following a successful pilot programme, The Data Lab Community will provide a much-needed online space where data and AI students, leaders and professionals can connect, grow, collaborate, as well as view the latest industry jobs. The community will also host exclusive events, online learning courses, and a mentoring programme to connect new data and AI industry entrants with seasoned professionals, helping to tackle the current IT skills gap across Scotland and the wider UK.

Crucially, the platform also aims to contribute to Scotland’s economic and social recovery following the disruption caused by COVID-19 by helping individuals share ideas and best practice, enabling the businesses they work for to accelerate their digital transformation journey. With businesses of all sizes turning to digital technologies to keep afloat over the past 18 months, the Scottish Government sees this as a crucial area of investment, and also announced a £100m Digital Boost scheme to aid small businesses digitalisation earlier this year.  

The Data Lab Community brings together the public, private and academia sectors, and it has already built up 200 members from some of the world’s most innovative companies, renowned institutions and ambitious startups.

Brian Hills, Deputy CEO & Head of Service Design at The Data Lab, said: “As Scotland, and the world, moves into recovery and growth, The Data Lab’s mission to help the nation maximise the economic and social value from data and AI has never been so important. The launch of The Data Lab Community plays a big part in delivering our ambition – enabling us to scale collaboration and skills development anchored in our values of innovation, growth, support and respect.

“There is a tremendous willingness in the data community to help others and The Data Lab Community will provide a catalyst for those who want to help others succeed with data and AI to connect and collaborate with those earlier in their digital journey, and help them accelerate their path to success. We’re already seeing fantastic feedback from users and have a waiting list of people and companies keen to join the digital community to encourage innovation and share best practice.”

Rich Wilson, Founder & CEO, Gigged.AI, a Scottish tech start-up that uses AI to help clients, contractors and freelancers come together to deliver digital projects and who took part in the pilot programme, added: “The Data Lab Community is a brilliant idea. It is a place for those involved in data and AI to network and share ideas, no matter where their business is on its digital transformation journey. The forum and jobs sections are great for our business, and we can see this driving real value in the industry. It is also rare to find a platform where the public and private sector can network together. I would definitely recommend any business that is looking to grow its digital capabilities makes use of the platform.”

To join the community and sign up for a free account, please visit:

The launch of The Data Lab Community coincides with the next DataFest event focused on ‘Our People’, which kicks off for two days on 7th September. The second of three conferences in the run up to the headline Data Summit event in November, it will focus on the social and wellbeing aspects of our data use and explore how data can be used to help solve or ease the world’s problems.

Delegates will hear from a range of industry-leading speakers, including Daliana Liu, a senior data scientist at Amazon Web Services, offering insight into the different types of careers available to people in the industry. Attendance is free and tickets are still available for anyone interested in finding out more in a career in data science and AI:  

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