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People discussing data projects in Inverness

What data can do to support organisations across the Highlands & Islands

Karen O’Hanlan, our Business Development Executive based in Inverness, reflects on the successes of the first year working in the Inverness Hub

The Data Lab’s Inverness Hub has now been up and running for over a year. Much of my focus over this first 12 months has been around community building, networking and creating new collaborations and partnerships. For many organisations this has been the first contact they have had with the Data Lab.

The Highlands Data Meet-up has been a great success

I have held and participated in numerous event, including the establishment of the Highlands Data Meet-Up, a new community for people interested in data, data science and innovation.  Our virtual Meet-up on 11th June with LifeScan Scotland Ltd on the Data Lifecycle in the Medical Device Industry attracted over 50 participants.

I am really keen to make our Highlands Meet-Ups particularly relevant to people working and living in the north of Scotland, so would welcome your ideas on future topics or speakers. If you could email your suggestions to me at

Data Lab MSc students will be undertaking projects in HIE for the first time

In the coming weeks we will see the first Data Lab MSc project commence in the Highlands with Inverness College and our first data science project with NHS Highland. Two proof of concept academic collaborations with organisations in the Highlands are also in development, and I am really looking forward to sharing information on these collaboration over the coming months.

An exciting data science collaborative project in healthcare

Our first Data Lab data science project is with ScotCap and its NHS Highland clinical leads.  Colon capsule endoscopy is a novel and minimally invasive method for examining the large bowel. It is a pill which is swallowed by a patient and captures pictures of the lining of the bowel via 2 cameras at either end of it. For some patients who have new symptoms requiring investigation or surveillance of the large bowel, colon capsule endoscopy can be used as an alternative to a traditional colonoscopy.  The ScotCap evaluation based in the North of Scotland is currently evaluating the potential benefits to patients. The Data Lab will analyse the data collected to better establish which patients will benefit from a colon capsule endoscopy or be better suited to a traditional colonoscopy.

This work will be of significant value to clinicians in Scotland who are likely to be inexperienced using colon capsule endoscopy. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has halted colonoscopy procedures in many endoscopy units across the UK. Colon capsule endoscopy has emerged as a potential solution to the increased pressure on waiting lists that has resulted. This collaboration could significantly benefit any recovery processes being deployed in healthcare involving colon capsule endoscopy and future long term use of this technology.

A new MSc Applied Data Science course starts in September

In the last few months the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) has secured funding from the Data Lab for its new part-time MSc Applied Data Science commencing September 2020, with a full time course is coming in September 2021 . With this support, UHI will be able to offer a limited number of funded places through the Data Lab’s MSc programme. The course has been developed with input from local employers and the Data Lab itself.

The programme will enable participants to make an immediate and effective contribution to an organisation through data science. Taught online and using virtual classroom technologies to provide face to face teaching outside of normal working hours, participants will be able to study flexibly around other commitments.

For more information on the support available from the Data Lab visit our website at


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