Our approach

Our challenge-led, interdisciplinary, data-driven, co-creative approach lies at the heart of all we do.

Our approach






Challenge, create, change.

The biggest challenges facing societies globally are complex and interconnected. Our approach is participatory and future-facing. Recognising that insight, innovation and impact come from bringing people and knowledge together, and that addressing the challenges of our time requires radical and creative collaborations.

Our ethos and approach stem from the University of Edinburgh’s principles of civic responsibility, working with and for wider communities, and the importance of opening up education to all who can benefit.

We are interdisciplinary and interconnected by default, and by design.

We offer fundamentally interdisciplinary learning, research, and collaboration opportunities and draw on diverse disciplines to support creative and ethical work with all kinds of data. We support interdisciplinary perspectives that enable transformational, sustainable, and ethical innovation and change.

We support work on complex, multi-stakeholder challenges for the benefit of society.

Developing insights from across disciplines and applying them to complex challenges (organisational, cultural, societal, or planetary) is fundamental to all our work at the Edinburgh Futures Institute.

Data shapes our world and increasingly underpins our lives, work and learning.

Edinburgh Futures Institute is one of six Data Driven Innovation hubs at the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University. Our innovation ecosystem is part of a regional powerhouse for collaboration and ethical and creative data innovation with industry partners.

Understanding how to use data ethically, innovatively, and collaboratively is essential for citizens, professionals, businesses, and governments. It is also critical for employers and professionals across different sectors.

All our study opportunities, our research support, and our partnerships, support ethical, data-led decision making, data innovation and collaboration and enhanced data skills and understanding.

Fully embedded in our approach is the art and practice of co-creation.

The outcomes of a co-creative culture are wide and varied and support trust-building, access to talent, networking, personal development and growth, and sharing ideas.

Our innovation ecosystem supports ethical, participatory, and future-facing knowledge production, impact, and practice.

From design thinking to new approaches to social innovation, we recognise that entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes.

With a range of support from across the University of Edinburgh, and a dynamic community of partners within the Futures Institute, we are creating collaborative environments to pursue new endeavours.

Discover more at Edinburgh Futures Institute

Edinburgh Futures Institute staff mingling and talking, red tint over image.

Meet our people

Group of people using VR headsets, green tint over image.

Explore our ecosystem

Artist's Impression of the front facade on the new Edinburgh Futures Institute building.

Our new home

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Join us to challenge, create, and make change happen.