An annual tech sector ‘festival’ is set to be extended next year after the organisation that funds it was boosted by a £13.5m government cash injection.

DataFest, a week-long festival run by government innovation centre The Data Lab, will run for a fortnight next March with additional events featuring in the programme.

Organisers say the event has been extended to run over a two-week period and will include the ‘Data Summit’ and ‘Data Talent Scotland’, and introduce a new technical event, ‘DataTech’.

The longer festival will also allow for larger engagement from local organisations looking to run their own fringe events across Scotland as part of DataFest19.

Calls for the submission of technical talk proposals for DataTech and to run fringe events are now open at

Gillian Docherty, CEO of The Data Lab, said: “We’re proud of the impact The Data Lab has had on Scottish business and innovation communities over the last four years and are pleased to receive further backing from the Scottish Government.  The continuation of our work will help develop a strong data science community and accelerate Scotland’s economic growth.

“The Data Lab has built a vibrant, supportive and effective data community across Scotland. The success we’ve had means we’re in a great position to continue to collaborate with the Scottish and international community on Data Science and Artificial Intelligence innovation during Phase 2.”

Since its launch in 2014, The Data Lab has used its existing funding from the Scottish Funding Council to attract and develop data talent in Scotland. It has created and run educational programmes and events, and provided backing to Scottish innovation projects.

The new funding was confirmed by Minister for Further Education, Higher Education & Science, Richard Lochhead. Speaking ahead of today’s announcement during the DataFest19 launch event in Edinburgh, Mr Lochhead said: “This investment builds on the £100 million already invested in Scotland’s eight innovation centres, including The Data Lab, which are having a transformational effect on our economy.

“Scottish universities excel in data science. Together with the country’s rich data resources and advanced infrastructure, this provides the ideal environment for the Data Lab to thrive, benefiting industry, the third sector and public services.

“I am pleased to confirm that the Scottish Government, through the Scottish Funding Council and our Enterprise agencies, is able to invest up to £13.5 million to support the Data Lab in its next phase, which will contribute to exploiting the estimated £20 billion data opportunity for Scotland’s economy by 2020.”