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CDCS Annual Report 2022-23




We are delighted to be sharing the fourth annual report of the Centre for Data, Culture & Society, which documents our activities supporting data-led and digital research over the last academic year. While last year's report looked back over our achievements since launch, this year our focus is on the future. 2022/23 has been a period of significant change for CDCS: we have found a new context for our work as part of the 'innovation platform' within the Edinburgh Futures Institute, and we also saw our founding Director Melissa Terras come to the end of her term of office.  We have been using this period of transition to take stock of our work so far, gather thoughts and explore what our next phase of activities should look like. We are excited about the future and pleased to be able to begin sharing some of our plans in this report. 

Alongside this reflective work, the CDCS team has been as busy as ever and this report lays out an impressive amount of activity. Our new Rapid Prototyping Sandpit was a highlight this year and saw us support fifteen data-led projects in their next technical steps. We continue to offer an expansive and varied training programme from which hundreds of researchers benefit and delivered our third CDCS Summer School in June. With two streams and students attending from across Scotland, this was significantly larger than last year. We've also enjoyed bringing our community together at events: our third annual lecture - given by author and activist Nanjala Nyabola - was another highlight, as was the award ceremony for our 2023 Digital Research Prizes. We continue to see data-led research growing and thriving around us and are proud of the role we are playing in stimulating and supporting our community.

Collaboration is at the heart of CDCS and this year has also seen us working with others across the University, the UK and beyond.  We have strengthened relationships with research groups, organisations and networks and worked to deliver projects with a variety of partners. This all points forward to exciting future activities, as we grow our profile and begin to contribute on larger stages. 

Dr Lisa Otty, Director


This report is available below in PDF format. While we have made every effort to make this document accessible, it performs best in a screen reader using manual controls.


1. Events

We've welcomed our community back to in-person events alongside our online seminars.

2. Training

With 8 training fellows, we've delivered a bumper programme this year.

3. Future Focus

We've been exploring ideas and making plans: find out where we are heading now.

4. Skills

We're all about building and sharing skills: learn about how our values drive our work. 

5. Projects

Supporting research is what we do best, and we've facilitated a variety of projects this year. 

6. Collaboration

We love working with others to achieve more. This year we've deepened our partnerships within the University and beyond.

7. Infrastructure

We're building services and tools to make the processes of digital research easier.

8. Digital Research Prizes

We're all about celebrating incredible projects and innovative research.

9. Data

Our metrics and measures for this year.


It was the vision, drive and energy of our founding Director, Professor Melissa Terras, that got CDCS off the ground and set our pace and direction. Melissa envisaged a more joined up approach to supporting digital research within CAHSS, and she brought that vision to life. Her passion for digital research is infectious and her belief that the arts, humanities and social sciences have a vital role to play in an increasingly digitised and digital world remains our guiding principle. On behalf of the whole CDCS community, I would like to thank her for the vital work she has done in establishing the Centre and developing a thriving digital research community within CAHSS. Although Melissa has now demitted, we are delighted that our working relationship will continue as she joins the Centre's new academic Advisory Board. 

CDCS activity is a collective effort at every level, and many hands and minds are responsible for the work presented in this report. Particular thanks goes to Lucia Michielin, who delivers a stronger and bigger training programme each year and leads on the coordination of our growing summer school. Our administrators Likando Kumoyo and Laura Murray provide seamless support for our website, events and admin processes and ensure that the CDCS machine is oiled and running well. Dr Jessica Witte, working with us as an EFI Postdoctoral Research Fellow, has been instrumental in developing our support offer this year and we greatly value her proactive approach to researcher engagement. Ed McKenzie, who joined the team as a Research Technologist in January has contributed a wealth of new ideas and skills to the team.  We benefit enormously from the input of the twelve School Leads who have sat on our Core Team, and will form the basis of our new Advisory Board going forward. I'd like to thank five of these Leads in particular as they pass the baton on in 2023: Mike Fuller, Beverley Hood, Morgan Currie, Galina Andreeva and Jon Henderson have all been excellent colleagues and have made valuable contributions over the last four years.

Since 2019, we have also benefited from the insight, guidance and encouragement of a Steering Group which will now be disbanded as we move our reporting into EFI structures: I'd like to thank all those who have sat on the Steering Group, and in particular Professor Sarah Prescott, whose support during this transition period has been constant and much appreciated.

A final thanks goes to Professor Chris Speed, Director of EFI, and Jude Henderson, EFI's Chief Operating Officer: they have offered great insight, support and enthusiasm as we've considered the possible futures of CDCS and, along with many other EFI colleagues, have given us a warm welcome as we've come into the fold. We're looking forward to working more closely together as CDCS moves into the new EFI building later this year.


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Cite this document: Centre for Data, Culture & Society Annual Report 22/23. (Sept 2023) College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Edinburgh: Edinburgh.