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Edinburgh's Ambition to be Data Capital Faces Uncertain Future

Following last week’s week-long festival celebrating the leading role the capital has in the future of global data-driven innovation, Gordon Macdonald MSP asked the Scottish Government what steps were being taken to support Edinburgh’s ambition as the future Data Capital of Europe. It became apparent that although the Scottish Government are support the industry through structures like the City Deal, as a result of Brexit the future of Edinburgh’s ambition could be facing doubt.

Last week, experts from around the globe came to Edinburgh to see a showcase of Scotland’s world-class data science capabilities at the international science festival, DataFest18. However, this week, in a response to a question from Edinburgh Pentlands MSP, Gordon Macdonald, it was revealed that Brexit could create significant obstacles to those prospects.

The Minister for or Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, said that it is vital that we are able to attract workers with the right skills and that ending access to the single market and freedom of movement is a “matter of great concern” that “will have a negative impact on our economy and our business”.

Commenting SNP MSP for Edinburgh Pentlands, Gordon Macdonald, said, “Edinburgh’s potential in data driven innovation is huge. Scotland already has impressive data infrastructure and skills, and is renowned as one of the leading data science landscapes in the world - with world class research taking place in our universities and a thriving data business sector.

“The industry should be playing a significant part in boosting our economy and we should be seizing the opportunity to become the data capital of Europe. However, due to the Tory government’s focus on dragging us out of the single market and customs union, data innovation is yet another industry being put at risk.”

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