In data science and AI, Scotland has incredible assets. With an engaged academic, private and public sector, the country has a holy trinity of collaborative ecosystems.

Scotland is a country with a global reputation for discovery, invention, research and innovation. In Scotland we have a vibrant, international academic community, with research teams pioneering new ideas at the forefront of their subject areas. This makes Scotland an ideal place to hold international business events – international delegates can connect with passionate local experts, they can visit research facilities, project sites and innovation centres and see first-hand the world leading work being done in Scotland.

Our Sector Experts are here to introduce you to some of Scotland’s bright minds, to give you an insight into their work, to find out their motivations and to learn more about what makes Scotland the perfect destination for business events.

Meet Fraser Macdonald, Delivery Director for Datafest

Fraser is an experienced project manager with extensive knowledge in cross sector engagement. He has worked with UK and international research communities, designing and managing innovation projects for the public, energy and defence sectors, and now works for the Data Lab, Scotland’s data focused innovation centre. Scotland plays a leading role in key digital economies including data science, digital creative arts and financial technology. Embracing new technologies, accessing and empowering data and creating digitised solutions to age old problems are all part of the picture. From remote rural healthcare applications which save lives, data-driven healthcare pathways, to the cutting edge of fintech solutions for global finance, and some of the world’s most successful games franchises – Scotland is a country embracing the data driven future. 

"I’m originally from Stonehaven on the North East coast, I have lived, studied or worked in most corners of Scotland. My career has been focused on leveraging research to drive innovation. I’ve worked across a diverse range of industries spanning energy and finance to healthcare and tourism. Now based in Edinburgh, I work with The Data Lab, Scotland’s Innovation Centre for data and AI. Our mission is to help Scotland Maximise value from data lead the world to a data power future".

"As Delivery Director for DataFest, my job is to ensure that the annual festival is pulled together and runs smoothly – with as few headaches as possible! DataFest has grown from a single event of around 400 people, to a two week festival hosting over 4000 people across 70 events in over 8 Scottish towns & cities. With an event this large and diverse, the only way to pull it off is with a fantastic team by your side. My job is to look at the bigger picture and build partnerships across Scotland and beyond, while ensuring that the team have what they need to deliver this unique annual event".

Pasion and Drive

"Every year, we use DataFest to expose, inspire, and educate an entire country. We do this to support our broader mission at The Data Lab, where we believe Scotland can lead the world to a future where data powers scientific progress, economic prosperity and social good. Personally, I‘ve been lucky enough to see the value that data can bring to the lives of individuals within Scotland, Be that through advancements in public health or the creation of new businesses and jobs. However, key to achieving our mission is ensuing that we are open and clear about the ethical concerns that surround data and AI. At DataFest, we ensure that we balance the discussion by placing the ethics debate front and centre throughout our festival".

"Data science has become the new buzz word globally and Scotland has placed itself at the heart of the growing utilisation of data and artificial intelligence. As such, Scotland is home to a number of fantastic innovations. From Bayes theorem, first used in the 18th century by University of Edinburgh alumni Thomas Bayes, to the recent work by The Data Lab, helping organisations to access the academic or specialist expertise and project support they need to build effective partnerships with Scottish academia and innovate successfully with data".

Local relationships, local networks

"In terms of data science and AI, Scotland’s network is an incredible asset. With an engaged academic, private and public sector, the country has a holy trinity of collaborative ecosystems. There is a vast number of groups, communities, hubs, and centres across the country. All of which engage and interact with one another. DataFest, a festival of all things data and AI in Scotland, looks to showcase this community by running the event country wide – highlighting the breadth and strength of the data science community it supports".

Scotland as a destination for Data and Artificial Intelligence business events

"The fact that Scotland has such an engaged community across the entire country makes it an excellent destination for data science business events. Data science is not sector specific and has a part to play in any business or organisation. Whether you are working in the isles, highlands, north east or south west (or anywhere in-between!) there are a vast range of businesses and communities that are engaged in data. This, combined with a wealth of stunning and relevant locations, makes Scotland an excellent destination for data science events".

"Scotland is unique. For being such a small place, relatively speaking, it has an incredible level of activity across the whole country. DataFest is just one example of the great events happening here in Scotland. Its unique format, that pulls an entire country together under one banner, showcases to its global neighbours that it is community led and community focused. Within The Data Lab and beyond, the commitment to placing Scotland at the centre of data science innovation makes it recognisable globally and an obvious destination to visit, work, and learn".

DataFest 2020 listed as one of the best tech expos and conferences in 2020 by Whitehall Resources and Prograils.