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Research and policy update

Svea Miesch, Research and Policy Manager, ScotlandIS

As Research and Policy Manager at ScotlandIS, my job is to stay updated on the size, health and development of Scotland’s digital technologies sector and identify and research new business opportunities and potential challenges for our members. I also follow policy developments that could affect our sector and make sure that our industry’s voice is being heard by policy makers. Closing the digital skills gap and increasing the number of women working in our industry is an important aspect of my work. Therefore, I am a member of the Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership Gender Workstream and the ENGENDERING STEM expert group to tackle the technology gender gap.

November has been a great month for me, seeing some of our research and policy work being launched and even highlighted in the Scottish Parliament:

Members of the Scottish Parliament held a debate on “Artificial Intelligence and Data Driven Technologies: Opportunities for the Scottish Economy and Society” in the chamber. Ahead of this, we provided a briefing to MSPs, together with the Royal Society of Edinburgh, SCDI and BT Scotland, to highlight our joint research and recommendations on the topic. Several MSPs, including Minister for Digital Economy Kate Forbes and the Conservative and Labour MSPs leading in the debate for their parties, referred to our latest report which called for an AI and data strategy for Scotland. The Scottish Government has since accepted this recommendation and has launched the development of such a strategy. Our Head of Data, Katy Guthrie, is part of the steering group for this work. It’s amazing to see that our research and lobbying activities have a direct impact on government policy.

At the end of November, we launched the capability directories for data and cyber security companies based in Scotland. This database will help organisations in need of cyber or data products and services to find local suppliers and also provide an overview of the data and cyber supplier ecosystems. I led the research to identify and categorise relevant companies and was lucky to work with my colleague Zsuzsanna Szugyi who did an amazing job in tracking down details of about 200 cyber security businesses and nearly 400 data companies. You can search the capability directories here. They are work in progress, so please get in touch if you think a company is missing or if details need updated.

Apart from this, I’ve been interviewing members about their current and planned export activities and how ScotlandIS can make selling outside the UK a little easier for them. Together with research on the export performance of our industry, the outcomes of these interviews will be shaped into an export and internationalisation strategy for Scotland’s digital technologies sector. Please get in touch at if you are currently exporting or planning to do so in the future to discuss how we can help.

Finally, today we launch our annual Scottish Technology Industry Survey, our key measure for the health and performance of our sector. We’re collecting responses a little earlier than usual to try and capture the views of even more companies. So please look out for the survey invitation and take the time to participate. The responses are hugely important to shape the work of ScotlandIS and are also being used by Scottish Government and many others.

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