Cameron Gordon, business development executive with The Data Lab

Cameron Gordon, business development executive with The Data Lab

Having access to data has been crucial in informing the decision-making process during the current COVID-19 crisis. In what is a highly topical subject, Dr Joanna McKenzie, principal data scientist at The Data Lab will give a talk on Data Driven Decisions for a Pandemic as part of this year’s TechFest Festival of STEM.

Dr McKenzie’s talk on November 24 at 11am will look at the power of a data strategy in uncertain times and what can be learned from COVID-19 to enable us to use data to our advantage.

The festival has gone online for the first time this year and The Data Lab has come on board as a new festival sponsor.

In a second presentation, Cameron Gordon, business development executive with The Data Lab in Aberdeen, will talk about the organisation’s MSc industrial placement programme. The programme currently has 160 students in a range of MSc courses in AI, data science and data engineering who are looking for opportunities to work with Scottish organisations that would benefit from their technical skills during a placement.

His talk, How An MSc Student Can Help You Drive A Short-Term Data Project, takes place on November 25 at 11am. Booking is open now for both talks which form part of the TechFest Goes Digital public programme.

“The work that TechFest delivers is key to making STEM accessible to young people and the wider community in Scotland, so we are thrilled to be joining the roster as a sponsor this year,” said Cameron.

“As Scotland’s Innovation Centre for Data and AI, we are well placed to understand how both Government and the business community have utilised data to power through the effects of the pandemic; and ultimately, the myriad benefits of building data strategy into your wider business plan.

“We firmly believe the talent from MSc students at Scottish universities can have a positive impact in helping organisations achieve this. We are looking forward to virtually meeting the delegates.”

The annual festival is aiming to be the biggest and most ambitious digital science festival in Scotland this year. Thanks to the digital format it has also gone global, with audiences, including school groups tuning in from countries around the world.

With an exciting and eclectic mix of more than 30 events taking place over a three-week period, the festival has two main strands - the traditional public programme and a programme for schools.

Supported by joint principal sponsors bp and Shell and also sponsored by Equinor, Ithaca Energy, SBRC, The Data Lab and supported by RockRose Energy, the celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) usually runs for three weeks in September, with events taking place in venues across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

This year, rather than cancel the festival due to current events, organisers not only decided to go ahead with a 2020 event but to make it wider ranging than ever before.

The mix will include both live and pre-recorded events delivered via Zoom, Facebook, LinkedIn and through interactive activities

A schools’ programme will bring science-based activities directly into the classroom with a variety of activities, video conferences, talks, and virtual events with partners including Edinburgh Zoo and the Red Cross in collaboration with Skills Development Scotland TechFest’s new programme collaborator.

The highly popular family days also returned in digital format and were jam packed with fun and STEM-inspired activities for the whole family.

Admission to all events is free. For more information and to book, visit the TechFest website at