Meet the people at The Data Lab
Data Talent returns for 2024!
With organisations actively recruiting for a variety of roles in the field of data science and AI.
Everyone at The Data Lab is passionate about helping Scotland’s businesses, academics and students get the most value from data and AI.
In addition to our core teams, we have several advisory and governance boards.
Meet our people:
Business Development Team
Data Science Team
Operations and Finance Team
Scottish AI Alliance
Innovation Advisory Board
Skills Advisory Board
Chief Executive Officer
Brian is responsible for strategy, delivery and culture at The Data Lab, accountable to funding partners and The Data Lab Governance Board. A founding member of The Data Lab team, Brian has 25 years’ experience in analytics and software engineering, across domains including Telecoms, IT and Digital. During his 8 years at The Data Lab, Brian has been Head of Product, Head of Data Science and Deputy-CEO before moving to the CEO role in 2022. He has recently been recognised as a Top 5 Data Influencer in the UK, as part of the annual DataIQ top 100 people in data.
Director of Operations and Finance
Manolo is responsible for Legal, HR, IT, Project Management and Finance, closely working with our host’s teams and processes. Manolo is a qualified Chartered Accountant in Public Finance with over 25 years of experience in Finance and Operations senior roles in the University Sector. He joined The Data Lab in January 2015 having previously worked at various Schools within the University of Edinburgh.
Director of Skills and Talent
Heather leads The Data Lab’s £8m data and AI skills programme which supports organisations to develop data strategy consider the impact and potential of AI, build teams and access and retain talent in today’s rapidly changing world of work.
With 23 years’ experience in software engineering, project management, education and leadership, Heather has a passion for supporting education and development and individuals and organisations.
She coordinates The Data Lab Educational Advisory Board and is also a member of the South of Scotland Digital Skills Board Management Group and the UK Data Skills Taskforce.
Director of Partnerships and Business Development
Mark is responsible for managing the funnel of innovation activity for The Data Lab from collaborative academic projects with industry to large-scale consortia. He is also responsible for external partnership activity from commercial relationships and income through to engagement with ecosystem partners. Mark has more than 25 years experience in the global data and analytics sector, he has managed business teams which include start-ups and established organisations.
Director of Marketing and Communications
Alison is responsible for promoting and communicating the Data Lab through activities such as Public Relations, Public Affairs, case studies, digital campaigns and leads the delivery of DataFest and The Data Lab Community. Alison has over 18 years of experience in marketing and communications in both public and private sector roles. She has worked in various sectors including innovation centres, higher education and tourism.
Business Development Team
Head of External Funding Services
Adam is responsible for the creation and delivery of strategic funding programmes supporting Scottish based organisations. Since the External Funding Service creation in 2020, Adam has overseen over 100 consortia led applications into a range of funding bodies delivering over £85M of funding into Scottish, UK and European collaborations. In addition to his role at The Data Lab, Adam is the Scotland lead for the £54M Smart Manufacturing Data Hub, a collaboration supported by 13 UK partners with a mission to revolutionise the way SME Manufacturers use their data for productivity and environmental advancement.
Adam is an active contributor on several Health and Energy programmes, tackling key challenges throughout our economy. His previous roles at The Data Lab in Business Development, and IBM Watson Consultancy Services has seen Adam facilitate clients on their way to a Data and AI powered Future over the last 10 years.
Senior Partnerships Executive
Daniel is a professional relationship builder with over 10 years of experience across the Data Science, Innovation and Finance sectors. He is responsible for overseeing The Data Lab’s Partnership Programme, creating long-lasting strategic relationships, connecting people and organisations and ensuring our partners are able to maximise the opportunities that come with working with us. Daniel is passionate about Data Science and Innovation in Scotland and the impact for good that it can have on a national and global scale.
Business Development Executive (Skills)
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 skill set. She has extensive cross-industry experience working in business development and marketing roles.
Business Development Executive (Highlands and Islands)
Pauline is an experienced innovation advisor who has worked for many years, enabling organisations to access university business and innovation support.
She promotes The Data Lab activities to organisations across the Highlands and Islands region. In previous roles, she has worked in various sectors including the oil industry, rail, food and drink, retail banking, hospitals and local government.
Business Development Officer (Skills)
Max joined The Data Lab in November 2021 to oversee the MSc Industrial Placements Programme and help connect businesses with emerging Data Science and AI talent. With over 6 years of 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
Principal Data Scientist – Smart Manufacturing Data Hub
Saleh is a Data Scientist with a wealth of experience working in academia, the public sector and industry across different sectors, from manufacturing to healthcare, both in the UK and internationally. He holds a PhD in Data Science in Built Environment from the University of Strathclyde. His research has been published in more than 60 high-impact research outputs and has been cited more than 1100 times. He works with multidisciplinary teams of researchers, engineers and data scientists to deliver cutting-edge digital and data science solutions.
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 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.
Alfred is a Data Scientist with an accomplished background in astronomy academia and a variety of experience in the public sector, focused on transport and healthcare. He holds a PhD in astronomy from the University of Oxford and held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Forrest Research Foundation, in Australia. Alfred joined The Data Lab from the New South Wales Ministry of Health where he applied data science and engineering techniques to maintain and develop a dynamic simulation model used to evaluate the system-wide benefits of State health initiatives.
Tom is a Data Scientist with both academic and industry experience. He is interested in Machine Learning, IoT, and automation. He joined The Data Lab from the Uk Atomic Energy Authority, where he worked with multiple engineering and science groups to enable the research of nuclear fusion for the JET experiment. He holds an Masters and several years experience in engineering and data science.
Senior Project 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.
Laura is an efficient project manager experienced in building strong networks and working in international environments. She joins the Data Lab from the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA) where she was responsible for the NTTF Skills Training for Life Sciences Programme. Laura believes in the power of data to inform innovative decision-making and drive success.
Anna Ashton Scott
Programme Manager – Professional Development
Anna leads The Data Lab’s Professional Learning and Leadership programmes, helping individuals and organisations improve their knowledge and understanding of the data skills needed to create business value. With a background in arts and humanities, she brings a creative problem-solving approach to her work. Her breadth of experience in professional services, including management roles with the University of Glasgow and King’s College London, includes leading high-profile national skills initiatives and cross-sectoral partnership working. Anna is passionate about breaking down barriers to learning and working collaboratively with partners to achieve common goals.
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.
Doctoral Programme Lead
Cheryl joined The Data Lab in 2016 and now leads the Doctoral Programme which includes Industrial Doctorates and PhD Placements. Previously she has worked for the University of Edinburgh for over 10 years primarily in an HR capacity.
Product Manager for the DDI Skills Gateway (Data Skills for Work)
Nuria has worked at the University of Edinburgh for the last 19 years and has vast experience managing projects across different schools, predominately related to Online Learning Environments. She is a learning designer and technologist and worked on the University of Edinburgh MOOC offer (part of the Educational Design and Engagement Team). She has experience with a wide range of VLEs and LMS.
Her specialisation focuses on creating online learning training products focusing on universal design for accessibility.
Jacqueline has ten years of experience teaching abroad (South Korea, Uruguay, Spain). She has a passion for learning and championing accessibility for marginalised groups. Her recent work within libraries and interest in coding has brought her to The Data Lab with ambitious goals. In her spare time, she enjoys knitting and pottery.
Placement Programme Coordinator
Sara joined The Data Lab in October 2021 to oversee the MSc Industrial Placements Programme and help students develop their knowledge and expertise and build their confidence. She joins us from Equate Scotland where for seven years she supported and promoted women in STEM in Scotland, through their Student Network and training and consultancy. Sara has a background in education and gender and has worked in the third sector in four countries for over 15 years.
Head of DataFest
Gordon leads DataFest, Scotland’s showcase for data science and artificial intelligence on the international stage. He is a creative digital professional with demonstrable success working in the third and private sectors.
Isabella oversees Communications and PR at The Data Lab. She is a communications and engagement professional with experience working in higher education and social enterprises, designing and implementing projects and activities to engage a variety of audiences.
Digital Platforms and Content Lead
Sarah is an experienced digital marketing professional focusing on analytics and strategy development. She is an analytical content developer with in-depth knowledge of SEO and social media marketing. Sarah has a keen eye for identifying emerging trends and implementing strategies to expand content reach.
Alongside her work with TDL, she holds a freelance marketing role, providing solutions for some of Scotland’s key tourism and hospitality hosts.
Brand and Campaign Manager
Jane is a highly ambitious and solutions-focused marketing professional with experience in the advertising, non-profit and creative industries. She joined The Data Lab from an award-winning integrated marketing agency, where she managed campaigns and branding projects for high-profile clients like the Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland. She is also the Director of FLOURISH Festival, a non-profit music and art festival that she founded in 2014. A frequent panellist in the creative industries, she has been responsible for the exponential growth of the festival and long-standing relationship-building with private and public stakeholders.
Events, Marketing and Community Officer
Steven oversees The Data Lab Community‘s events programme. He joins The Data Lab with a wealth of experience in organising and leading events – including Scotland’s most extensive data and AI careers event Data Talent in his previous role at FutureX.
Marketing and Communications Assistant
Marta is a very passionate and creative marketing professional, who oversees all social media channels at The Data Lab.
She is an ambitious content creator with experience in digital, international, and social media marketing. She joined The Data Lab from tech industry giant Apple and Apple Music services.
Operations and Finance Team
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 about Data Science.
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 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.
Amy is an 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.
IT & CRM Manager
Executive Education Advisor
Craig has 25 years 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.
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 Data Lab.
Scottish AI Alliance
Head of the Scottish AI Alliance
Steph is a data science enthusiast with specific experience in the healthcare domain. She has a diverse background ranging from astrophysics to genomics in academia and film & TV to dance in the arts and the third sector. A project and programme management professional, she loves to develop and build collaborations across organisations to help people with their data/AI journey.
Steph led on Data Lab’s efforts in support of the Scottish Government in developing Scotland’s AI Strategy and she’s now excited to lead the delivery of the strategy’s vision for Scotland to be a leader in the development and use of trustworthy, ethical and inclusive AI. She is also a Co-Founder of Diverse AI.
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 the 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.
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.
Events and Engagement Officer
Calum is an engagement professional who has worked across education, accessibility, STEM and the arts. He enjoys producing events and coordinating programmes which centre on inclusivity, collaborative relationships and interdisciplinary learning. Calum is also a mentor in the Creative Informatics programme with Creative Edinburgh, and a member of their Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Steering Group
Communications and Events Manager
Killian is a marketing and communications professional based in Edinburgh. He has experience working with digital technology businesses, digital agencies, and within the higher education sector.
During his career, he has worked with clients in industries including manufacturing, engineering, tourism, heritage, FMCG, and finance. With an educational background in humanities, his interests range from history and languages to technology and futurology.
The overall responsibility for The Data Lab resides with the Governance Board made up of representatives of each of the stakeholder groups, and chaired by an independent industry leader.
The Board approves all significant funding applications, monitors progress, terminates projects where necessary and decides upon future strategic areas for investment. It is strongly weighted towards industrial representation.
Former Accenture Scotland MD and founder of business growth platform Alba Arete
Previously managing director of Accenture’s Scottish operations, Bayne recently founded Alba Arete, an organisation focused on helping Scottish businesses grow, and Scotland reach its full potential.
Industry and Public Sector Members:
Ed Broussard, Private sector
Head of Accenture FS Applied Intelligence and CEO of Mudano (part of Accenture)
Albert King, Public sector
Stephen O’Neill, Public sector
Head of Digital Economy and Data-Driven Business, The Scottish Government
Data Management Lead at the Bank of England
Founding Director at The VR Hive
Managing Director at SMBC Bank International
Chief Digital Officer at the Digital Office for Scottish Local Government
Principal & CEO at Dundee and Angus College and Chair of the Education Advisory Board
Jane Hillston FRSE MAE
Head of School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh
Professor Stuart Anderson
Scottish Enterprise, Highland and Islands Enterprise and Scottish Funding Council (observers):
Senior Policy Analysis Officer, Scottish Funding Council
Senior Development Manager, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE)
David Hartley, SE
Head of Digital Economy at Scottish Enterprise
Innovation Advisory Board
In addition to the Governance Board, there is the Innovation Advisory Board (IAB) consisting of data holders from both the public and private sectors, solutions providers, problem holders and universities, with representation from each of the major sectors served.
Membership in the IAB is drawn from partner companies, public sector organisations and universities. As with the Governance Board, the IAB consists of representatives from organisations of all sizes ranging from start-ups and SMEs to much larger organisations from the industry.
Data Protection Office & Interim CISO, Sainsburys Bank
Director at Hybercube Consulting
Reader at the University of Strathclyde
Head of Health Data Transformation at Research Data Scotland
Dr Jasmina Lazik
Head of Research and Development at Bigtincan
Director of Health and Social Care Data-Driven Innovation at the University of Edinburgh
Knowledge Exchange & Innovation Collaboration Manager at the University of the West of Scotland
Paul Van Loon
Applied Science Manager at Amazon
CEO and Founder of ilosta
Consultant at Connected Places Catapult
Education Advisory Board
The Skills Advisory Group reports to the Governance Board and is tasked with understanding the needs of local industry in terms of skills and education requirements.
The Group identifies and oversees the development of online courses, continuing professional development courses and other forms of teaching materials that can be used to educate local industry professionals and also be incorporated into courses that are delivered across the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA) universities.
Chair – Simon Hewitt
Principal & CEO at Dundee and Angus College
Dr Andrei Petrovski
SGA Director, SICSA
Programme Director at Data-driven Innovation Skills Gateway
Director of Engineering – Data Platform at FanDuel
Head of Data and Digital Transformation at Sainsbury’s Bank
Program Manager, Barclays
Senior Director, Education at GitHub
We have launched an Ambassador Programme designed to bolster Scotland’s data and AI community.
Our Ambassador Programme is designed to bring together some of the world’s brightest names in the data and AI community and harness their support for Scotland.
One of our strongest assets is our ever-expanding global network and our Ambassador Programme is an attempt to utilise that expansive network to its fullest potential.
Our Ambassadors will be tasked with a number of duties designed to boost Scotland’s data community in the years to come and will do what they can to promote The Data Lab. Through the programme, businesses will be given the opportunity to liaise directly with ambassadors to discover more information about the support that can be accessed via The Data Lab.
Dr Jo Watts
Founder and CEO of Effini
Natural Intelligence Solutions
Founder and CEO of Commonwealth Ventures
CEO of MBN Solutions
Data Analyst, Scottish Funding Council
Dr Eyad Elyan
Associate Professor in Machine Learning, School of Computing Science and Digital Media, Robert Gordon University
Prof Ruth Falconer
Professor, Games Technology and Mathematics subject areas, Abertay University
Data Scientist. Open data advocate. Co-Founder, Code The City
Speak to one of our support team to get in contact with The Data Lab staff.
Find out about our work helping Scotland’s businesses, academics and students leverage the power of data:
Scottish Curling’s Data Leadership triumph
Scottish Curling boasts a rich history of fostering social inclusion, promoting the sport of curling, and achieving excellence internationally. Armed with a passion for driving positive transformation, their CEO Vincent Bryson saw the potential of data-driven decision-making and embraced the opportunity to lead Scottish Curling into a new era with our Data Leadership Programme. The…
Seafood Innovation Fund: Machine learning to monitor lobster stock
The Data Lab’s data scientists in collaboration with Heriot-Watt University, Orkney Sustainable Fisheries, and Bangor University have unlocked the key to accurately measuring lobster stock like never before. By melding low-cost cameras with the magic of machine learning, this ground breaking solution will help fishers, researchers, and sustainable fisheries management by reducing costs and carbon…
News about our work:
Join the Data for Entrepreneurs Pilot Programme
In collaboration with industry experts, The Data Lab is excited to announce the launch of its new course, “Data for Entrepreneurs.” This programme empowers aspiring and established entrepreneurs with the essential skills to succeed in today’s data-driven business landscape. The course features insights from industry leaders, including Steven Drost, Codebase CSO, and Chris Speed, Chair…
AI and You! A recap of the Aberdeen Data Summit
In early November, The Data Lab hosted a captivating gathering in Aberdeen that delved deep into data and artificial intelligence. Titled ‘AI and You: How AI is shaping your Experience’, the fringe event was an extension of the larger Data Summit 2023 in Edinburgh. It brought together data professionals and enthusiasts at OneTech Hub to…
Crafting a standout CV: 5 essential tips for students and job seekers
In today’s competitive job market, your CV is your first opportunity to make a lasting impression on potential employers. Sara Orr-Saiz (Student Placement Coordinator, The Data Lab) and Max Baczynski (Business Development Manager, The Data Lab Academy) run the employability skills programme for The Data Lab Academy. They help integrated masters and MSc students to…
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