Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI), a world-leading teaching and research institute based at Edinburgh University, is set to receive a significant injection of government funding from the City Region Deal, pending approval.
With additional funding from the University and external partners and investors, the total investment in EFI will reach up to £189 million.
The UK Government is investing £55.6 million to fund the EFI as part of the City Region Deal, with additional funding coming from the Scottish Government, Edinburgh University and external partners and investors.
Based at the former Edinburgh Royal infirmary, EFI is one of five Data-Driven Innovation hubs to be apportioned funding as part of the £1.3 billion City Region Deal.
This investment is an indicator of the increasing importance of data in the public services, economic growth and social change across Edinburgh and South East Scotland.
EFI researchers will work closely with up to 350 partner organisations to study a range of topics and themes, including how data-driven innovation can be harnessed to improve public services in the region, and the role of artificial intelligence and the ethics of data.
UK Government Minister Lord Duncan said: “The Edinburgh Futures Institute will make an important contribution to the region – delivering growth, attracting investment and talent, and cementing the UK’s position as a world leader in innovation.
“The many business opportunities and jobs created through the growth in the data economy will be an important contribution to Scotland’s economy.
“That is why the UK Government is investing £290 million to support the sector in Edinburgh and South East Scotland, as part of our £1.3 billion commitment to Growth Deals across Scotland.”
Infrastructure Secretary Michael Matheson said: “I am delighted to see the Data Driven Innovation programme take another step forward with the approval of the Edinburgh Futures Institute business case.
“Using £300 million of Scottish Government investment, the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal is designed to deliver inclusive economic growth, providing opportunities and distributing the benefits fairly across the entire region.”
Leeann Dempster, chair of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal Regional Enterprise Council, said: “This business case represents a potential investment of the scale and ambition needed to meet the challenges and opportunities of the data revolution we see happening around us.
“The challenge is to harness the revolution in data, digital and artificial intelligence in ways that benefit people across our region. The opportunity couldn’t be greater.
“Data-driven innovation can be at the heart of improved public services for everyone and giving people access to new skills, opportunities and careers. Everyone in our region should have a share in economic growth.
“We are seeing an acceleration in City Region Deal activity and I commend all the partners involved in the Deal for working so collaboratively to bring forward this project. It is an exciting example of how such strategic, long-term investment, will improve lives and sustain economic growth that benefits all who live in the region.”