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Bayes Centre Given Royal Seal of Approval

Ross Kelly


EIT Digital Edinburgh

Edinburgh University’s new data innovation hub, the Bayes Centre, was formally opened yesterday. The centre marks the first major step in the £661 million Data-Driven Innovation initiative. 

The Princess Royal was in attendance yesterday at the official opening of the Bayes Centre, Edinburgh University’s world-leading tech innovation centre.

The Bayes Centre, which aims to develop and apply data science and artificial intelligence (AI), will house around 600 experts from research and industry. The host of experts and organisations will seek to “make use of large datasets and a high-speed analytics facility to improve people’s lives.” the University said in a statement.

The initiative is supported by Scottish Enterprise, which has part-funded the Bayes Innovation Programme to help encourage this collaboration between academia and industry.

Data-Driven Future

Edinburgh University's Bayes CentreThe £45 million building features open spaces, terraces and will spread entrepreneurs, researchers and students across five floors; with the goal of fostering greater collaboration and interaction between occupants.

This marks the first of five data-driven innovation hubs which are due to be created as part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal. The new hubs will enable business and public sector organisations to improve products and services through increased collaboration with researchers and data analysts.

To facilitate collaboration, research and development teams will be embedded in the University environment, the centre said.

David Mundell, Secretary of State for Scotland said: “I am delighted to see the Bayes Centre officially opened, the first project to do so from the £1.3 billion Edinburgh and South-East Scotland City Region Deal.

“The opportunities that this building will create for both the University and the wider city region are considerable and I appreciate the role that the University of Edinburgh is playing in ensuring that Scotland will continue to be seen across the world at the forefront of data science.”

Driving Innovation

The £661 million Data-Driven Innovation initiative is a key component of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, which was formally announced in August.

Over the next decade, the government said it aims to train more than 100,000 people in data skills. Computer science specialist roles could be created through the initiative, while traditional roles that increasingly rely on data will be enhanced.

The initiative will include a number of other centres in addition to the Bayes Centre. These include the Edinburgh Futures Institute, Usher Institute, the University’s Easter Bush Campus, and the National Robotarium – a partnership with Heriot-Watt University.

Edinburgh University's Bayes Centre

Speaking at the opening Dr Michael Rovatsos, Director of the Bayes Centre, said: “It’s great to see this exciting project – backed by £30 million of UK Government funding – officially opened.

“The Bayes Centre will support the development of world-leading technology, attract further investment to the region and support high-value jobs for the future. It is a superb example of why data-driven innovation is at the heart of the UK Industrial Strategy, and one of many exciting projects being delivered as part of the £1.3 billion City Region Deal.”

The building itself takes its name from the Reverend Thomas Bayes, who studied logic and theology at the University during the early 18th century. Bayes is best known for devising Bayesian statistics, the mathematical foundation for reliable forecasting.

Today, this is widely used in a number of areas, including the financial markets, weather forecasting, or to filter email spam.

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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