We support people and organisations to be adaptive, innovative, and futures-focused.

Free online SHort course: DATA Ethics, AI and Responsible Innovation

Taught by leading experts in data science, AI, information law, science and technology studies, and responsible research and innovation.

Co-create futures

Shape thinking

Develop knowledge

Nurture talent

Make change

We create spaces for collaboration to generate a different kind of conversation, to stimulate ideas, and to work together to best utilise data to drive forward innovation.

In a rapidly transforming world how do we: collaborate more effectively across our public service sector; access, share, and optimise data to innovate and enhance services and systems; support the next generation of leaders; achieve better outcomes for our citizens and communities – and effect change locally, nationally, and globally?

Our collaboration opportunities are designed to bring academic, practitioner, and industry expertise together to develop innovation capacity, align working methods, and create solutions for public services.

Get involved with:

Long-term strategic partnerships

Co-creation and design thinking workshops

Education, training and development

Futures-focused facilitation and consultancy

Sector-focused events and networking

Research and innovation projects

Student challenge projects

We build better futures through world-leading research innovation and knowledge creation.

Innovation can challenge and change existing ways of thinking, structures, practices, users, and business models. It can bridge the gap between what we know and are doing right now, and the emerging challenges facing our world.

Get inside the minds of some of the leading thinkers navigating routes to better futures at Edinburgh Futures Institute.

Building future skills and knowledge for public services.

We are helping the sector address complex challenges like climate change, poverty, local and global inequalities, and the ethical use of data and AI.

Our range of postgraduate study is designed to build and share knowledge across sectors and disciplines. We also offer custom executive education to meet specific needs for teams and organisations.

We offer flexible degree programmes which support the needs and challenges of public services professionals and leaders.

MSc / PG Dip / PG Cert

Executive education

Our executive education and professional development courses are designed to challenge, inspire, and transform your thinking.

Investing in the next generation to help tackle the complexities of our future world.

The future workplace is interdisciplinary, multi-modal, and challenge-led. Our students graduate with core data skills, knowledge of data ethics, the ability to interrogate issues of global scope and complexity, and with the creative and entrepreneurial mind-set to problem-solve that is vital for building better futures.

We have lots of exciting opportunities to connect our diverse and talented students with a range of professional and sector-specific experience.

We deliver meaningful change that is helping the public services build better futures.

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

Our innovation ecosystem is designed to support the public sector with challenge-led, data-driven innovation that delivers economic, social, cultural, environmental ,and ethical impact.

Find out about some of our collaborations and projects.

Public Services Innovation Lab

The Lab brings together academics, practitioners, community members and other stakeholders from across the public service system. It is a place and an opportunity to explore challenge-led issues identified by those close to them. 

Scottish Prevention Hub

A collaboration between EFI, Police Scotland and Public Health Scotland. The focus is on embedding a public health approach to prevention and wellbeing across Scotland.

Innovation ecosystem

We offer specialist innovation and co-creation services – delivering new value, outcomes, and transformations for people, communities, organisations and society.

Explore more of the innovation ecosystem at Edinburgh Futures Institute:

People smiling in an office environment, orange tint over image.
People sitting on seats in a circle in discussion
A person using a smartphone looking at information
An older woman using a tablet

In focus

In practice

Scottish Prevention Hub

artist drawing of the edinburgh futures institute building

A collaboration between Edinburgh Futures Institute, Police Scotland and Public Health Scotland. The focus is on embedding a prevention and public health approach to policing across Scotland.

People sitting in a circle, only their lower bodies are visible in this image.

Dr Kristy Docherty, Director of Public Services at the Edinburgh Futures Institute, argues that for complex collaborations to be successful, we need to re-focus on relationships.

People walking over a crossroad

The Lab brings together academics, practitioners, community members, and other stakeholders from across the public service system. It is a place and an opportunity to explore challenge-led issues identified by those close to them. 



Why We Need To Shape Innovation

Hand holding globe of 'data'

For technological innovation to be our salvation, we need to bring social sciences, humanities and the arts for people and the economy (SHAPE) into research much earlier on, writes Professor Christina Boswell, Vice-Principal of Research and Enterprise at the University of Edinburgh.


Digital Ethics: A Roadmap For Scotland

Woman using digital tablet

Government, industry and academia in Scotland have ambitious plans for digital and data-driven innovation, involving technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), with far-reaching consequences.


Improving outcomes for children through ethical data use

Alex Hutchison explains the work of the Data for Children Collaborative, and how it uses data and data science to improve the lives of children around the world.

Become a member

New tenancy and membership opportunities coming 2024/25.

We can create better futures

Edinburgh Futures Institute works with public and third-sector organisations, with industry and businesses, and with people and communities. We’d love to discuss potential collaborations and opportunities, and how we can innovate together.

Meet the lead

Kristy Docherty

Director of Public Services and Sector Engagement Manager (Public Services)

Kristy Docherty headshot
Examples of organisations we collaborate with:
Public health scotland
Police scotland

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