Support for staff

coin showing Forth rail bridge
Support for staff
The Edinburgh Futures Institute is committed to supporting, promoting, and enabling high-quality research in areas focused on the challenges and opportunities related to data driven innovation that have demonstrable ethical, social, cultural, economic and environmental impact.

The EFI Research team aims to support academic staff by developing strategic areas of research capability, developing and supporting research networks, and in providing advice regarding grant applications related to our themes. EFI Research also aims to provide practical support, for example by providing access to new data sets, software licences, strategic equipment, digitisation and training. Please contact the EFI Senior Research Project Manager, Valentina Guerrieri, if you need any specific requests.

We also aim to support a training and upskilling program of data-led research methods, managed by the Centre for Data, Culture and Society (CDCS), to allow existing staff and research students at the University of Edinburgh to grow and develop their own approaches to data-led research.

One of our priority areas is to support academics working on strategic research grant applications by providing expert advice on how to design, structure and resource a project and coordinate the submission process. We also support the grant application process by providing teaching buy-out, facilitating networking and collaboration with external partners, and identifying colleagues who can constructively peer review proposals.

We also have two schemes to support projects which are relevant for our research themes — the EFI Research awards, and the EFI Project and Events grants.

There is no a specific deadline to apply for our “EFI Projects and Events grant”. You can download the application form here and send it to

The deadline for our Research Awards has now passed and we expect the next call to be advertised in October 2021.

EFI research awards 2020/2021

This year, our EFI Research awards were managed in collaboration with colleagues in the CAHSS College Research Office, as a stream within the Challenge Investment Fund call. CIF Awards are aimed to support broader College research objectives to further synergies and areas of cross-disciplinary expertise within CAHSS, across College boundaries and/or outside the institution. Applicants whose research projects had a focus on the challenges and opportunities posed by Data Driven Innovation in one of the EFI research themes (FinTech and financial services, Data Civics and the future of public services, Creative Tech, Tourism and Festivals, Ethics of Data and Artificial Intelligence, Critical Infrastructure), were invited to flag this in their application form.

We supported projects exploring a wide range of issues such as AI sentiment recognition, Intelligent Operating Rooms, data infrastructures that promote ethical and democratic governance and the empowerment of local actors, child-friendly justice systems. You can find out more about the individual projects below:

Beverley Hood

Reader in Technological Embodiment & Creative Practice, Edinburgh College of Art

It’s all about the feelings… a pilot performance project using Artificial Intelligence sentiment recognition

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It’s all about the feelings… will be a pilot practice-based research project, exploring sentience recognition, bias and performance. It is intended as a first step towards an ambitious, large-scale touring performance work, which would take these pressing themes and concerns from academia to the wider general public. The key objectives of the project are to extend upon ethical, philosophical and HCI research around sentiment recognition and AI, using creative research methods, and to test the feasibility of sentiment recognition as a tool and medium for performance.

Beverley Hood’s profile page

Jennifer Lavoie

Chancellor Fellow in Global Challenges, Moray House School of Education and Sport

Justice for Who? Young Children’s Preferences for Justice Outcomes After a Minor Transgression

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Understanding children’s perceptions of justice is important because this may affect how they perceive and experience justice systems themselves, for example when acts of violence are committed against them through maltreatment. Yet, despite the importance of the concept, there exists limited knowledge of how the concept of justice develops during childhood, specifically how children judge whether justice has been served following a transgression. The aim of the proposed research is to examine how young children believe justice should be served in the face of a transgression committed against another.

Jennifer Lavoie’s profile page

Marlee Tichenor, Justyna Bandola-Gill & Sotiria Grek

Marlee Tichenor – Post-doctoral Research Fellow in Medical Anthropology , Justyna Bandola-Gill – Research Fellow in Science and Technology Studies, Sotiria Grek – Professor in European and Global Education Governance, School of Social and Politcial Science

Determining Sustainable Data Futures: Statistical Capacity Development in Africa

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The proposed project will analyse this new era of global governance by data through a focus on the struggles and collaborations between heterogeneous organizations over their processes and practices of producing statistical capacity development in the Global South. Our project will cast light on the continent of Africa, as the region that poses the greatest data challenges for international and local communities. The project’s goal is to interrogate this emerging and powerful relationship of knowledge and governance by analysing the interrelations between state and non-state actors in the production of data for education, health, and poverty policy in three African countries that receive such assistance, such as Senegal, Nigeria, and South Africa, the latter of which also provides such aid on the continent.

Marlee Tichenor’s profile page

Justyna Bandola-Gill’s profile page

Sotiria Grek’s profile page

Jennifer Yule

Lecturer in Marketing, Business School

Patient Perspectives on the Intelligent Operating Room

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The intelligent operating room (IOR) where digital technology inputs can assist human team members through pre, intra and postoperative stages of surgery is becoming a reality. However, there is a critical gap in the development and application of this technology regarding the patients’ perspective on the collection, use and application of data in the IOR. The IOR has the potential to impact patient outcomes and inherently involves the patient at the centre of the data gathering exercise, therefore the patient perspective should be integral to technological developments. The aim of the project is to establish a multidisciplinary research network leveraging insights from multiple stakeholders to develop a conceptual framework of patient-centred perspectives on digital data capture in the OR.

Jennifer Yule’s profile page

Research support

In addition to these research projects, we have also supported several events, workshops and initiatives with a focus on Data Driven Innovation, including:

Dr Pip Thornton

Chancellor Fellow, School of Geosciences

Push the Boat Out festival

Push the Boat Out is a brand new poetry festival, located in Edinburgh, which will showcase fresh, provocative, radical, audacious, inspiring poetry and spoken word, and bring people together to enjoy, experience and interrogate it. This grant will support an installation at Push the Boat Out will display the text of Orwell’s 1984, as currently priced by Google’s advertising algorithms, and displayed as a rolling tickertape on 2 LED panels suspended from the ceiling in the entrance lobby to Summerhall. The LED panels will also be used to value and scroll the work of selected poets and writers taking part in the festival. The installation is the latest in a series of research-led creative interventions exploring the value of language in an age of digital capitalism.

Dr Thornton’s profile page

Daryl Green

Head of Special Collections, Deputy Head of the Centre for Research Collections, ISG/Centre for Research Collections

A Wealth of Information

This project will seek to quantify the impact of the arrival of a significant part of Adam Smith’s library to the University’s intellectual community in the late 19th century. By using extant catalogues of this collection, data mining digitised copies of those texts and analysing the intellectual output (i.e. University theses) of the University in the last 25 years of the 19th century, and then finally comparing this data to the borrowing records of New College Library during this same period. This work we allow us to build a model for measuring intellectual impact of a major donation from a highly influential Scottish thinker.

Daryl Green’s profile page

Lucy Havens

PhD student in the School of Informatics

Biased text in Cultural Heritage Catalogues

The project’s aim is to annotate text for gender bias, create a gold standard dataset and then train a classification algorithm to enable large-scale detection and classification of types of gender bias in text. No gold standard dataset for cultural heritage metadata exists, so the dataset would be a unique contribution and help further efforts to bring digital methods to cultural heritage institutions.  Furthermore, no gold standard dataset annotated for bias exists, let alone gender bias, so the dataset will be a unique and valuable contribution to the natural language processing community.

Lucy Haven’s profile page

Dr David Overend

Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Studies, Moray House School of Education and Sport

Making Routes

This project supports a website used as a platform for a research network and online resource for artists working with mobilities. The website has around 60 members and 10 years of texts and images from our journeys and artworks. To mark the anniversary of the project, a book will be published by Triarchy Press in 2021. This will consolidate member activity in this time and promote the project to a wider audience. A launch event in planned in September, aiming at growing the online community and providing an essential hub for the next phase of our research.

Dr Overend’s profile page

Details of past research awards and projects can be found in the 2019/20 Research Awards.