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Engaging events: A round-up of speaking highlights

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Research Data Scotland

21 Dec 2022

As part of Research Data Scotland's first year as a charity, we were out and about at several events, such as DataFest, The Scotsman’s Data for Diversity conference and the International Population Data Linkage Network (IPDLN) conference, to raise the profile of our work and hear from others in the data community.

Here are some selected highlights of events from this year:


RDS partnered with The DataLab and took part in DataFest with Professor Roger Halliday, Interim CEO of Research Data Scotland, speaking on a panel on the future of healthcare alongside Professor Devi Sridhar. The panel discussed how data can play a role in mitigating and managing future pandemics and why data literacy is essential to interpret and communicate and be empowered by data. On the second day, Layla Robinson, Partnership and Strategy Director, gave a lightning pitch about RDS, as seen in this tweet.

Data for diversity 

RDS supported the Scotsman’s data for diversity conference, held for the second time with Professor Roger Halliday speaking on a panel session to explore how data can be used for more diverse and inclusive health outcomes.

Writing in The Scotsman, Professor Halliday said:

“Some of the biggest challenges facing our society are adapting to a changing climate, tackling child poverty, and improving the health and wellbeing disenfranchised people and marginalised communities.

“Tackling these economic, environmental and economic challenges requires collaboration between people, ideas and evidence.

“And while data has a huge role to play in unlocking our potential to having a more equal and just society, we need to ensure the data collected and connected in the first place, which is used to inform policies, captures all manners of people and behaviour so no one is left behind.”

Read the full opinion piece in The Scotsman on our blog.

Engaging with the scientific community

RDS attended the biennial International Population Data Linkage Network (IPDLN) conference with Professor Halliday speaking at an evening reception. One of the case studies mentioned included a trial in the NHS which tested a risk-based system to improve advice to those at risk of homelessness.

Professor Halliday said: “[The trial] reduced homelessness, improved the healthcare for people and saved significant cost to the exchequer.

“It was only because of the collaboration between data experts, researchers, Government, frontline workers and public service managers that data could be used to save time, money and lives.” 

He added: “And while this is a great example, I don’t see enough of these for my liking. That’s why I’m so passionate about what we’re doing in Research Data Scotland to create the conditions not only for a more streamlined access to a wide range of case level data about people, places and businesses, but to create the conditions for data driven innovation to happen systematically across Scotland.”

RDS also attended the Royal Statistical Society annual conference, which was held in Aberdeen and gave talks at the University of Edinburgh Research Training Centre.

Engaging with policymakers 

RDS supported the inaugural Evidence Week in Holyrood at the start of the year, which is a campaign spearheaded by Sense about Science and discusses how evidence is how the evidence used to make policy decisions in Scotland is scrutinised.

Over 70 MSPs, policymakers and researchers attended a session on Doing Data Better for Policy and the Public Good, which was chaired by Professor Halliday with over a hundred people registered to attend or watch online. The workshop considered the power of data in evidence-based decision-making and how data linkage research could deliver insights and outcomes for policy. 

We also spoke at events with NHS Caldicott Guardian Forum, Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry, Use My Data webinar on NHS and data, Swedish eHealth Agency and Digital Scotland 2022.

Sharon Moore tweeted after the event:


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