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by Sofia Villegas
10 October 2023
Schools roll-out to make Scotland home to 'Europe's largest' Internet of Things network

Students at Addiewell Primary School monitor the affect of the green wall on CO2 levels in thier classroom | Callum Bennetts, Maverick Studios

Schools roll-out to make Scotland home to 'Europe's largest' Internet of Things network

Schools roll-out to make Scotland home to 'Europe's largest' Internet of Things network

The Internet of Things (IoT) network plans to roll out its smart environmental technology to all schools in the south east by the end of the academic year.

Full deployment would make Scotland home to "Europe's largest" IoT network, according to the principal of the University of Edinburgh Peter Mathieson.

Since launching in 2019, the £9.5m scheme has given more than 40 schools first-hand access to environmental research.

The state-of-the-art technology allows students to analyse data, including CO2 levels and soil moisture, helping them to improve their learning environments.

Each sensor is linked to a super-computer at Edinburgh’s International Data Facility, where information is turned into graphs that can be accessed online.

Mathieson said: “Data is all around us, shaping the way we live, work and engage with each other: our goal to make the digital sector more accessible to young people is therefore clear.

“The Internet of Things schools’ network aims to give pupils the confidence, competence and ambition to use data to benefit themselves and their communities in an ever-changing digital world.”

Project leaders hope this initiative will inspire pupils to study STEM subjects or a career in data-driven industries.

UK Government Minister for Scotland, Malcolm Offord, said: “This pioneering programme is empowering young minds to gather and use data to learn about their environment, and will hopefully inspire and prepare students for potential careers in the data-driven economy.

“The UK Government is investing £261m in the Data-Driven Innovation programme and more than £380m in levelling up across south east Scotland.”

The network is part of the University of Edinburgh’s Data Driven Innovation (DDI) programme, which the UK and Scottish governments have funded.

Since launching in 2018, the DDI has supported multiple facilities for the university, including the Edinburgh Futures Institute and the National Robotarium, a partnership with Heriot-Watt University.

Part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, the programme looks to establish the city as the European data capital while boosting investment and entrepeneurship in the sector.

By connecting university researchers with public, private and third sector organisations the scheme also aims to tackle global challenges.

Scottish Government Wellbeing Economy Secretary Neil Gray added: “By turning cutting edge research into businesses, we are supporting the entrepreneurs of the future and helping achieve the vision set out in the National Innovation Strategy for Scotland to become one of the most innovative small nations in the world over the next decade.”

With a £1.5bn investment, the region deal strives to enhance sectors including skills and innovation over the next 15 years.

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