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Nine projects to receive funding from Research Data Scotland’s Public Engagement Fund

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Research Data Scotland

17 Mar 2023

Over £56,000 has been awarded to projects across Scotland to support public engagement in data research.

Research Data Scotland (RDS) received over 30 applications and will fund nine projects to engage and inspire people about data research through its Public Engagement Fund. The fund will support projects in Scotland that engage with people on data research, help the public to understand how their data is used and empower them to have a voice in data science. 

Announced in January 2023, the Public Engagement fund aims to:

  • Promote the public understanding of data research in Scotland
  • Provide balanced information on data research
  • Widen participation by involving and engaging members of the public who may not usually interact with science to take an interest and have a voice in data science
  • Achieve clear and measurable impact 

Katie Oldfield, RDS Public Engagement Manager, said: “We were delighted with the response to our Public Engagement Fund and are excited to be funding these nine projects. Innovative public engagement is key to empowering the public to have a voice in how their data is used, and each of these projects will reach audiences across Scotland and engage the public in varied and creative ways.” 

“After we initially announced £40,000 of available funding, we were overwhelmed with high quality applications and were pleased to be able to increase the total funding to just over £56,000. We received over 30 applications from organisations across Scotland and wish to thank everyone who applied to the fund.” 

The fund was open for one month and received over 30 proposals, which were reviewed by a small working group of RDS team members and external representatives. Nine projects were chosen to receive funding. The projects will run from March 2023 and will evaluate and report on their work later this year.

“Innovative public engagement is key to empowering the public to have a voice in how their data is used, and each of these projects will reach audiences across Scotland and engage the public in varied and creative ways.”

Katie Oldfield, RDS Public Engagement Manager

The projects 

RDS will provide funding for the following projects: 

CodeClan: Demystifying Data 

Codeclan is an Edinburgh-based digital skills academy on a mission to help bridge the digital skills gap. They receive funding of £7,500 to create a free self-directed learning course on the topic of demystifying data, including videos, quizzes, discussion forums and mini-projects.

Grampian Regional Equality Council: How Fair is North-East Scotland? 

Working with minority ethnic community groups in Aberdeen, Grampian Regional Equality Council receives funding of £4,551 to deliver a series of six workshops aiming to improve data research with a focus on inclusion and inequalities. 

People Know How: Digital Citizen Research Project

People Know How, a Scottish social innovation charity, aim to widen participation in data science by carrying out engagement activities with underrepresented communities. They receive funding of £5,390 to engage participants from high Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) areas of Edinburgh to take part in training in the use of data in research. 

University of Dundee: Drug Harm Prevention Research 

The project will receive funding of £9,997 to carry out focus groups with people who use drugs to explore perceptions of the use of administrative data in research. Follow-up workshops will be carried out to produce a stop-motion animation and resources to be shared through the wider community.

University of Edinburgh: Cultural Probes into Mental Illness

Focusing on the role of art and creativity in mental health, this project will engage people with lived experience of mental illness. Receiving funding of £7,655, the project will involve a series of creativity workshops designed to spark reflection and imagination, culminating in an exhibition of the participants’ work.

University of Edinburgh: Data in Biological Research 

Through a Minecraft-based game project, the University of Edinburgh will invite young people from Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Highlands to discuss public health research data, including ethical considerations and challenges in using data to inform decisions. The project receives funding of £2,880. 

University of Edinburgh: Generation Scotland

Generation Scotland is Scotland’s largest family health and wellbeing study looking to improve the lives of people living in Scotland. This project will receive funding of £5,000 to create resources around data research which can be used at science festivals and other large-scale public events. 

University of Glasgow: Perinatal Mental Health

Building on existing population-wide data on all mothers in Scotland, the project will explore perinatal mental health, culminating in a timeline animation video featuring statistical analysis of population-level cohort data. The project receives funding of £11,178. 

University of Glasgow, Schools Health and Wellbeing Improvement Research Network (SHINE): Data Linkage 

Receiving funding of £2,705, SHINE will work with young people, parents/carers and teachers to produce a video and infographic around data linkage, with a focus on helping pupils, parents and teachers understand how data linkage works and the public benefits. 


RDS is a not-for-profit charitable organisation created and funded by Scottish Government. We are a partnership between Scottish Government, leading universities and public bodies, such as Public Health Scotland (PHS) and National Records Scotland (NRS) and are working to make it quicker and simpler to use public sector data for public good. 

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