Meet the Teams

Meet The Data Lab team

We are a group of people passionate about helping Scotland get the most value from data.

Gillian Docherty OBE

Chief Executive Officer

Gillian Docherty is chief executive of The Data Lab, an innovation centre with a mission of maximising the value for Scotland from data. 

The Data Lab facilitates partnerships between industry and academia, supporting data science and artificial intelligence projects as well as funding and running first class, ground-breaking education programmes. Gillian is passionate about the opportunity for using Data to drive economic and social benefits. 

Formerly of IBM, Gillian is a visiting professor at Robert Gordon University, a TED speaker and was named Digital Leader 2018 for the UK. Gillian was named CEO of the year at the Digital Technology Awards 2017 and was also in the UK’s top ten most influential people in data according to DataIQ.

Gillian is on the Board of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, a trustee of Beyonder Involve Charity and an Industry advisor to Previse. Gillian has a degree in Computing Science from the University of Glasgow, an Honorary Doctorate from Robert Gordon University and is married with a daughter.

THE TEAMS

In addition to our core team at The Data Lab, we have several advisory boards:

GET IN TOUCH

Please get in touch if you want to find out more about us.

Leadership Team

Brian Hills

Deputy CEO & Head of Data

Brian has 17 years experience in analytics and software engineering, across domains including Telecoms, IT and Digital. He joins the Data Lab from Skyscanner where he launched and grew the Business Intelligence team. Prior to Skyscanner, Brian held analytics and engineering roles with Sumerian and HP.

Manolo Perez

Head of Operations and Finance

Manolo is a qualified Chartered Accountant with over 12 years financial experience in the University Sector. He joined The Data Lab in January 2015 having previously worked at various departments within the University of Edinburgh.

Mark Wilkinson

Mark Wilkinson

Head of Business Development

Mark has more than 25 years’ experience in global data and analytics sector, he has managed business teams which include start-ups and established organisations; with an aim to support clients in achieving strategic business objectives by maximising value from data and analytics. Mark is focused on helping The Data Lab deliver their mission to maximise the value of data for Scotland. His role includes identifying future strategic funding opportunities from both public and private sector and spearheading collaborations with external partners across industry; public sector and academia.

Business Development Team

Adam Turner

Business Development Executive

Adam is an experienced Commercial Development professional who joins The Data Lab from IBM where he was a specialist in the Watson Cognitive Platform, providing support to organisations embarking on their Artificial Intelligence transformation projects. Drawing on his experience, Adam’s focus will be assisting organisations through their data driven innovation projects.

Darran Gardner

Business Development Executive

Darran Gardner is an experienced business development manager and management consultant whose most recent role was with the Energy Technology Partnership, where he developed and managed a wide range of collaborative academia/industry projects focused on the energy sector. 

Diane Harbison

Diane Harbison

Business Development Executive

Diane has over 20 years’ experience as a senior leader in the life sciences sector. She enjoys establishing collaborations between industry and academia, this has always been a focus of her career. As part of the business development team, her role is to enable industry and academic partners to securing further sources of funding from external sources such as UKRI and the European Union. She can support bid writing with a focus on helping SMEs and Scottish-based organisations access larger sources of external funding, enabling them to expand their R&D activities.

Karen O'Hanlon

Business Development Executive

Karen has considerable business development, sales and commercial expertise. Her recent roles include Business Development Manager at the University of the Highlands and Islands and Head of Engagement at Aridhia Informatics. Karen has a wealth of experience in developing and managing innovative collaborations across academia, the NHS and industry, and working with Innovate UK and the Horizon 2020 programme.

Cameron Gordon

Cameron Gordon

Business Development Executive

I graduated in 2018, with my fourth year dissertation being focused on practical research into advanced composite materials.  I joined IFB and got my first taste of the technology sector at Scotsoft 2018. I am now the Business Development lead for The Data Lab in Aberdeen. Responsible for supporting companies with their funding applications I hope to grow awareness of the Data Lab throughout Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire as a focus for Data Science across multiple industries.

Steph Wright

Director of Health & Wellbeing Engagement/AI Strategy Development Lead

Steph is a data science enthusiast with specific experience of the healthcare domain. She has been extensively involved in developing and building collaborations across organisations as well as experience in project and programme management. Steph has a diverse background ranging from astrophysics to genomics in academia and the third sector.

Data Science Team

Joanna McKenzie

Principal Data Scientist

Joanna is a data scientist with ten years’ experience as an analyst and team leader in the energy and renewables sector. She has considerable experience performing analytics projects in a large organisation, working with stakeholders and experts to identify and deliver value-add opportunities. She also has experience in analytics software development using mySQL, Matlab, python and R amongst other tools. A particle physicist and qualified secondary school teacher, she has a particular interest in knowledge sharing and building expertise.

Anselma Dobson-McKittrick

Anselma Dobson-McKittrick

Data Scientist

Anselma has joined The Data Lab from Virgin Money, where she worked across the bank to provide valuable data insight, predictive analytics and data visualisation. Before this, Anselma worked in the Data Science team at Welsh Water focusing on Customer Strategy. Anselma has an academic background in Mathematics with an MSc in Operational Research and Applied Statistics. During her studies, she completed a placement year at the Office for National Statistics and an MSc dissertation with NHS Wales. 

Project Managers

Fraser Macdonald

Fraser Macdonald

Project Development Manager - Data for Children Collaborative with UNICEF

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.

Malcolm Price

Malcolm Price

Project Development Manager

Malcolm started his career as a software engineer before moving into project management. He has over 20 years managing technology development projects in various sectors. Malcolm is a great believer in collaboration and the ‘power of together’ to bring success.

Serena Venegoni

Project Manager

Serena is a Project Manager with many years of experience in both small and large companies across several Industries, with a distinctive experience in business development, sales, marketing and know-how in the entrepreneurial route.  She is a qualified Process Improvement Lean Six Sigma Back Belt and holds a Master in Project Management, and is passionate about Innovation and in what Data Science and AI can bring to Scotland economy and society. She is married with two daughters and she loves dogs and horses.

DDI Skills Gateway (Data Skills for Work)​

Anna Scott

Anna Scott

Project Delivery Manager for the
DDI Skills Gateway (Data Skills for Work)

Anna has worked in the higher education sector for more than 15 years in external relations roles. Anna joins The Data Lab from the Scottish Graduate School of Social Science , where she led on programmes of activity designed to connect doctoral research with policy and practice, working with the Scottish Government, Skills Development Scotland and others on the delivery of national industry-focused skills training initiatives.

Katie Grimmond

Katie Thomson

Programme Administrator for the
DDI Skills Gateway (Data Skills for Work)

Katie is an experienced administrator and joined us from the Clyde River Foundation where she carried out eco-education projects and river based fieldwork. She graduated from the University of Aberdeen with a first class MSci Biological Sciences, where her research focused on using models to explore cognition in a wild population of birds. 

Data for Children Collaborative with UNICEF

Alex Hutchison

Alex Hutchison

Director for the
Data for Children Collaborative with UNICEF

Alex has joined the Collaborative from RBS where she has spent over a decade working on Data Management & Governance, change management and systems implementations. Alex is looking to expand her experience in data innovation and working with the third sector.

Alessandra Fassio

Alessandra Fassio

Programme Administrator for the Data for Children Collaborative with UNICEF

Alessandra has a strong academic background in philosophy, having graduated from the University of Edinburgh with an MA (Hons) and MSc. Her research area is data ethics and the ethics of AI, with a focus on using data to achieve social good. Prior to joining The Data Lab, Alessandra was a full-time student. She assists the delivery director for the Data for Children Collaborative with UNICEF.

Rhona MacLennan

Principal Solutions Architect

Rhona is an experienced enterprise architect with in-depth expertise in all aspects of Information Strategy, Architecture, and Governance. Prior to joining The Data Lab, she worked in the Oil & Gas, Financial Services, Technology, and FMCG sectors initiating data journeys, shaping and delivering enterprise solutions, and developing in-house data capabilities.

Lauren Spark

Lauren Spark

Business Development Executive – TORCH Service

Lauren is an experienced Business Development Executive who joins The Data Lab having worked with one of Scotland’s leading independent Data and Analytics Consultancies. Lauren enjoys uncovering and nurturing relationships at all organisational levels, gaining a deep understanding of each customer’s own specific needs and providing the right level and style of engagement to ensure project success.

Sarah Mackenzie

Sarah Mackenzie

Marketing, Communications and Events Officer

Sarah is an experienced digital marketing professional with a focus on analytics and strategy development. She joins the Data Lab from a freelance content management and media marketing role, where she provides solutions for some of Scotland’s key tourism and hospitality hosts. Sarah’s primary focus for The Data Lab is for the new TORCH business advisory service.

Iain Henderson

Senior Solutions Architect

Iain is an experienced solutions architect with in-depth experience in data management and use. He has worked in Financial Services, Utilities, Retail and Data Services in both enterprises and start-ups. His particular focus and specialism is CRM, Analytics, Privacy Management and Data Empowerment from the individual/ customer perspective.

Margery McConnell

Margery McConnell

Senior Solutions Architect

Margery’s experience spans many roles, from global and UK businesses to a scaling-up FinTech. A passionate Data evangelist, she recognises that for every business, real transformation depends on effectively combining the potential of advanced technology with the capabilities and enthusiasm of individuals. She brings this approach to her work with clients in both the TORCH Programme and Executive Education at the DataLab.

Skills Team

Marian Dunbar

Marian Dunbar

Skills Co-ordinator

Marian has more than 20 years of experience as a University Administrator working with students and academics in a variety of roles. She joins The Data Lab from the Cyber Academy, Edinburgh Napier University, where she supported a range of training, education and dissemination activities on cyber security.

Craig Paterson

Executive Education Advisor

Craig has 25 year of industry experience working in Utilities and Financial Services and specialises in Business, IT and Digital strategy development and execution. Craig is developing Executive Education for The Data Lab.
Heather Thomson

Heather Thomson

Skills Project Development Manager

Heather has 12 years experience in project and programme management roles, in both the public and private sector with extensive experience in the development and delivery of training.  Prior to joining The Data Lab, she managed a £5 million research programme at the University of Edinburgh with a strong focus on training and capacity building in data skills.

Cheryl Stewart

Cheryl Stewart

Skills Coordinator

Cheryl has worked for the University of Edinburgh for 10 years primarily in an HR capacity, she joined The Data Lab in 2016 where she now works as a Skills Coordinator supporting the work we do with the Industrial Doctorate and Online Learning programmes.

Marketing Team

Cecilia Bouroncle

Marketing and Communications Manager

Cecilia is a business professional with extensive experience in marketing and events, and working within the international higher education sector. She has an engineering degree and a Master in Business (Event Management). Before joining The Data Lab, she worked as an Education Manager for the Australian Government in Peru, her home country.
Alison Orr

Alison Orr

Marketing and Communications Manager (maternity cover)

Alison has over sixteen years’ experience in marketing and communications, in both public and private sector roles. Prior to working at the Data Lab, Alison managed the marketing and communications at the Scotland 5G Centre. She has worked in a variety of sectors including innovation centres, higher education and tourism. As a marketing and communications expert, she is passionate about audience engagement, customer experience and developing relevant and engaging content.

Gordon Johnstone

Gordon Johnstone

Marketing, Communications & Events Officer

Gordon has almost a decade of experience working in marketing, PR and digital media and holds an MSc in Media and Communications and a BA in Politics and Sociology. He joined The Data Lab to assist with their marketing, communications and events. When he’s not at work he’s probably making music or coffee.

Gina Finch

Marketing and Communications Officer

Gina is an experienced web designer and digital communications manager with an MSc in Multimedia Technology. She will be working with digital content and social media communications. Before joining The Data Lab, she worked as a freelance web designer, creating websites for small businesses in various content management systems.

Operations Team

Moira Stewart

Finance Administrator

Moira has a wealth of experience in the area of finance. Her last role was as a Finance Officer in Chemistry at the University. Her main experience comes from being a Secondary School Bursar for 26 years in a large Edinburgh Community school, and she is keen to develop important links with schools re Data Science.

Samantha Penn

PA & Office Manager

Sam has extensive experience in higher education administration, having previously worked for QMU, the University of Edinburgh & Edinburgh Napier University, in various PA, finance, HR & secretarial roles. She has supported both senior central services and academic staff and also students at all levels & managed a variety of events including workshops, conferences & seminars.

Kristina Mutch

Kristina Mutch

Contracts Manager

Kristina is a qualified solicitor specialising in intellectual property law, data protection and commercial contracts. Kristina deals with drafting and negotiating contracts and providing legal advice in respect of all aspects of The Data Lab’s activities. Prior to joining The Data Lab, Kristina worked for a commercial law firm, providing specialist advice to a wide range of private, public and third sector clients.