“We have an ambition to help change the way that decision makers are able to interact with and work with data in order to help people live healthier lives and improve the air we breathe, and, of course, accelerate our progress to Net Zero.”
Without the investment of the DDI initiative to create the Edinburgh International Data Facility, the ambition for Gemini to work not just in the Edinburgh city context or in the southeast Scotland context, but in a global context, would not have been possible. We can act as a blueprint for cities around the world who would want to adopt the novel methodologies that the Palmer Group and our IoT programme have created,
“The funding from the Data-Driven Innovation Initiative has fuelled collaboration between Professor Paul Palmer and Simon Chappell in the university.”
The link between the Gemini project and the wider Data-Driven Innovation initiative is significant. We would not be able to have the ambition or the scale of opportunity to deliver Gemini at a region-wide level if it wasn't for the investment, infrastructure and expertise that the Data-Driven Innovation initiative has brought to Edinburgh and continues to deliver in our city and our region.
“The Edinburgh Earth Initiative was established after COP26 in order to accelerate, coordinate and catalyse the University of Edinburgh's research-led response to the climate crisis.”
“Without these hubs of innovation that DDI fosters, we never could have got BRAID off the ground in the way that we did. We never could have had the reach that the centre has had by leveraging the connections not just within EFI and the University of Edinburgh, but within the entire DDI ecosystem.
As the Centre continues to evolve, it stands as a model in interdisciplinary research, public engagement, and education. The collaborative ethos cultivated by the DDI initiative has not only amplified the impact of the Centre for Technomoral Futures but has been instrumental in propelling the ambitious BRAID Programme towards its goals. The transformative potential of responsible AI research is fully realised when academia, industry, and policy converge in collaborative efforts—a vision typified by the symbiotic relationship between the Centre, BRAID, and the broader DDI initiative.
“Part of what the BRAID Programme is about is bridging the gap between academia, industry, policy, civil society, and helping the communication of knowledge flow between those communities.”
Myself and Professor Ewa Luger, have also recently led the introduction of the BRAID Programme, bringing in funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. Standing for Bridging Responsible AI Divides, it was launched with great acclaim at the BBC Radio Theatre, drawing attendees from various sectors. Securing £15.9 million in total funding up until 2028, it stands as a testament to the confidence placed by UKRI in the ability of the Centre for Technomoral Futures to co-support this ground-breaking initiative alongside other University of Edinburgh departments.
The Centre has already had a significant impact since its genesis, with PhD researchers demonstrating a commitment to public engagement through prolific writing and presentations at esteemed institutions such as the UK Home Office at Westminster and the Office for AI. Their involvement in advising both the UK and Scottish governments on critical issues demonstrates the practical significance of the research in shaping policy.
The commitment to public discourse also extends to educational endeavours with the launch of a new post-graduate programme on the ethics of data and AI created in collaboration with the Edinburgh Futures Institute. Currently hosting 26 Masters students from a range of backgrounds, the hybrid programme takes pride in its diverse cohort.
From establishing a core programme for PhD researchers, the Centre has now increased public engagement by developing the collaborative programme called Technomoral Conversations to talk to wider audiences about the challenges around AI and data ethics. It has also flexed its interdisciplinary practice, working closely with core partners including DDI funded research hub, the Bayes Centre as well as the Usher Institute, the Data Lab, and the Scottish AI Alliance.
“The Centre for Technomoral Futures addresses complex challenges arising from data-driven innovation and seeks to tackle the ethical implications of artificial intelligence, data science, robotics, and autonomous systems.”
BRAID project (Bridging Responsible AI Divides) / UKRI
Director of Centre for Technomoral Futures (Edinburgh Futures Institute)
and Co-Director, BRAID (Bridging Responsible AI Divides)
"I have also been selected as a Master Trainer at the Global Agriculture Nutritionals Academy. I will use this opportunity to share my experience with young fellows and researchers."
Thanks to the DDI I was able to get training, both in person and online. I was able to participate in different conferences using the seed money I received from the Fellowship opportunity. I was able to get recognition. And thanks to that, I'm now working as a research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute.
I was able to publish several other papers which have been featured in the report, some of which were published in the Downset Journal. The other positive outcome was being able to present at a World Global Micronutrient Forum in the Netherlands in the Hague. I've also completed another study on qualitative data, and there are two others waiting to be published.
“Studying this issue has a huge impact because we have a huge problem with low consumption of animal source foods.”
I used the technologies, the expertise, and the financial support from DDI. My study was based at the Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems at the University of Edinburgh. I used these facilities and the mentorship I received from the professors was also immensely useful. Throughout my study I had very close support from Professor Alan Duncan and Professor Geraldine McNeill, who have been supervising, advising and also controlling the quality of my work.
“Had it not been for DDI, I could not have come up with such interesting results.”
My study focuses on information for policy, data-driven innovation, policy programming, and scientific understanding of the situation. I used big data and did analysis to arrive at new evidence that supports policy and decision making with regard to the consumption of animal source foods in low income settings.
“The objective of my study was modelling or exploring the association, the gaps and the paths of ownership regarding the consumption of animal source foods.”
Modelling Availability and Intake of Animal Source Foods (ASF) among Young Children: A multilevel analysis for East Africa
Taddese Zerfu, Maria Curie Fellow, at the Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems, University of Edinburgh, UK.