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Edinburgh Science Festival - Scientists have your data!

Scientists have your data and they want to use it – come and decide what they can do with it, and discuss how its use can lead to benefits for us all.

Presenters: Carol Porteous, Mhairi Aitken and Leslie Stevens

When: Monday 3 April 2017 at 5.30pm

Target Audience:

This show would be aimed at adults and would be open to the general public (an option is that the Data Visualisation event could be aimed at children)

Event Format:

The event will be an interactive event with some  presentation, but mostly will involve facilitated discussion on topics of importance to developing data science research.


Summary of your Event:

The way health and social research is conducted is changing. Ground-breaking findings are often now discovered not in laboratories or hospitals, but, on computers. This research doesn’t require expensive social surveys or access to people’s organs or tissue samples but instead to their data and this research requires data being used for purposes other than which they were originally collected and can raise concerns about privacy and about individuals’ control over their own data. It is generally understood that in order for this research to be acceptable it must have public benefits, or to be in the public interest. But how these benefits and interests are defined is not clear-cut.

In this event, we will be attempting to engage members of the public in dialogue on the crucial questions society is facing, around how our data is used.  Our research, which spans social and health sciences, will be used as the basis for exemplars, and we will attempt to inform the public about how data used in research and will engage them on crucial topics such as governance, privacy and public acceptability.

We also want to engage members of the public more creatively in our research by asking them to

- Decide which research projects have public benefits, and
- who it is that should be benefitting from research
- Ask questions of our researchers about how data is looked after and protected and explore how data is governed.

More information


Page last updated: 19/06/2017