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 of The Data Lab

Gillian Docherty is Chief Executive of The Data Lab, an innovation centre with a mission to help Scotland maximise value from data and lead the world to a data-powered future.

The Data Lab believes Scotland can lead the world to a future where data powers scientific progress, economic prosperity and social good.

The Data Lab helps accelerate the journey to impact by fuelling innovation through collaboration, building skills and growing talent, and strengthening Scotland’s thriving data science community. The Data Lab acts as a catalyst, using our expertise, network, funding and platforms to change how Scotland, and the world, innovates with data.

Gillian is passionate about the opportunity for using Data to drive economic and social benefits.

Gillian was appointed an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2019 for Services to Information Technology and Business. In 2021, Gillian was appointed the inaugural chair of the Scottish AI Alliance.

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.


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


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

Leadership Team

Brian Hills - Deputy CEO

Brian Hills

Deputy CEO & Head of Service Design

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 TDL

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. 

Karen O'Hanlon headshot

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.

Sandra Ripley

Sandra Ripley

Business Development Executive

Sandra believes strongly in the power of a good data strategy and supporting skill set in driving business success.  She is delighted to be part of the team at The Data Lab working with Scottish businesses to support growth of their data skills set.  She has extensive cross-industry experience working in business development and marketing roles.

Max Baczynski

Max Baczynski

Business Development Officer

Max joined The Data Lab in November 2021 to oversee the MSc Industrial Placements Programme and help connect business with emerging Data Science and AI talent. With over 6 years’ experience in the tech education space, he previously worked for the coding bootcamp Makers and built partnerships with companies from Deloitte to Deliveroo. Max will build on this experience to help scope out suitable short data science projects for organisations across Scotland.

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. 

Vyron Christodoulou

Data Scientist

Vyron is a data scientist with both academic and industry experience. He is interested in Machine Learning, Open Source Software, automation and Machine Learning and Operations (MLOps). He has joined The Data Lab from the British Geological Survey (BGS), where he worked with multiple groups and types of data, applying software engineering practices and ML methods to make publicly accessible and reproducible research and science. He holds an MSc and a PhD in Artificial Intelligence where he worked with satellite data in anomaly detection and data drift.

Project Managers

Malcolm Price TDL

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.

Skills Team

Heather Thomson TDL

Heather Thomson

Head of Skills

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.

Anna Scott TDL

Anna Scott

Programme Manager- Professional Development

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.

Marian Dunbar

Marian Dunbar

Skills Coordinator

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.

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.

Michael Milne

Michael Milne

Project Manager

Michael is a Project Manager with a diverse background working for a number of digital agencies & startups across the UK and Singapore. He has experience in a variety of roles: project management, business analysis, digital business transformation, and business development. Prior to joining The Data Lab, he was managing Operations for a digital game studio in Edinburgh. He is an alumnus of the University of Edinburgh (BSc) and the Asian Institute of Management (MBA) and considers himself a true geek.

Nuria Fraile-Diaz

Nuria Fraile-Diaz

Product Manager for the
DDI Skills Gateway (Data Skills for Work)

Nuria has been working in the University of Edinburgh for the last 17 years and has a vast experience managing projects across different schools. Predominately related to Online Learning Environments and worked as coordinator for the University of Edinburgh MOOC team. In her last role, based in CSE, she interconnected learning technology tools to research projects, linking knowledge exchange among research and development teams.

Sonia Hadj Said

Sonia Hadj Said

Programme Administrator for the DDI Skills Gateway (Data Skills for Work) – Maternity Cover

Sonia has joined The Data Lab from a private equity firm where she worked across FOH, Events and Finance departments. She graduated from City, University of London with MA in International Journalism specialising in print publishing with focus on Humanitarian Reporting. Sonia is a passionate writer and spends her free time working on (always unfinished) books and poems.

Katie Grimmond

Katie Thomson

Programme Administrator for the
DDI Skills Gateway (Data Skills for Work)
- on maternity leave

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. 

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.

Sula Kirkpatrick

Skills Administrator

Sula has extensive administrative experience due to working for Aberdeen Asset Management as a Modern Apprentice in 2015 for 2 years rotating department every 4 months including Communications and Digital Marketing resulting in a permanent role with the Learning and Development HR team until 2018.

More recently she has worked for NHS Healthcare Improvement Scotland managing social media accounts, graphic design and events management for the Maternity, Neonatal and Paediatric improvement team.

Rhona MacLennan TDL

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 photo

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.

Scottish AI Alliance

Steph Wright

Steph Wright

Head of Scottish AI Alliance Support Circle

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 film & TV to dance in the arts and the third sector. Recently Steph led on Data Lab’s efforts in support of the Scottish Government in developing Scotland’s AI Strategy and going forward will be working on delivering its vision for Scotland. She is also the Director of Health & Wellbeing Engagement as part of the Business Development team.

Dawn Hunter

Dawn Hunter

Project Manager

Dawn is a Project Manager with over a decade’s experience in managing a diverse range of digital, civic society, events and marketing projects. She is an accredited PRINCE2 Practitioner and APMG Agile Project Management Practitioner. Dawn holds an MSc with Distinction in Digital Marketing, where her research examined the effects of digitalisation of SMEs in Scotland. A lifelong AI enthusiast, Dawn believes that people should be at the centre of digital transformation and is an ardent believer in the power of AI for good.

Will Millership TDL

Will Millership

Communications and Events Officer

Will is a communications professional with over 8 years of experience with a number of organisations across different industries. He spent 4 years in Prague where he worked as Communications Manager for artificial intelligence research and development company GoodAI and was the Director of the $5 million General AI Challenge. With a background in Human Geography, Will is particularly interested in the ways in which AI  influences people, culture and society.

Katie Garden

Katie Garden

Administrative Support Officer

Katie is an experienced administrator who joins us as The Scottish AI Alliance and Business Development team administrator. She graduated from The University of Arts London with a first class BA in Costume Design for Theatre and Film.

Marketing Team

Cecilia Bouroncle

Marketing and Communications Manager
- on maternity leave

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

Gina Finch

Digital Platforms and Content Lead

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 and also as a web designer for the University of Edinburgh.

Emma Donovan TDL

Emma Donovan

Marketing & Communications Intern

Emma has extensive administrative and marketing experience due to working at the School of History, Classics, and Archaeology as a Modern Apprentice for 2 years. She gained 2 Modern Apprenticeships during her time at HCA; Business and Administration, and Diploma in Marketing. She has experience of managing social media accounts due to the work she does for non-profit organisations and volunteering bodies, has a great eye for graphic design, and experience of editing university websites.

Operations Team

Moira Stewart

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 TDL

Kristina Mutch


 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.

HR Team

Amy Lippock

Amy Lippok

HR Coordinator

Amy is a HR professional with a strong background in Higher Education. Amy joined The Data Lab in 2021 from The University of Edinburgh after having worked with many HR Departments in various Schools and Colleges. Before joining The University of Edinburgh, Amy specialised in Compliance within the IT Recruitment sector.