April 22nd 2015 | COSLA Conference Centre, Edinburgh


Keynote speakers

Dave Coplin

Author and Chief Envisioning Officer, Microsoft

Dave Coplin is the Chief Envisioning Officer for Microsoft UK and an established thought leader on the role of technology in our personal and professional lives. He has worked across a wide range of industries providing strategic advice and guidance around the intersection of a modern society and technology. Dave is passionate about turning the base metal of technology into valuable assets that affect the way we live work and play and in so doing, move the focus from the technology itself to the outcome it enables.  

Dave’s latest book, “The Rise of the Humans” provides a call to action, for both individuals and organisations to harness not hate the digital deluge, to rise up and take back control of the potential that technology offers our society.  

Dave’s online home is: www.theenvisioners.com



Mark Stephen

Journalist and Broadcaster

Mark Stephen is one of Scotland’s most prolific and popular broadcasters. He studied at The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and Glasgow University.

After a year spent as a commercial producer in local radio he joined the BBC where he spent 20 years on their staff in a wide range of jobs - floor manager, researcher, trails director, newsreader, senior announcer, instructor, producer and presenter. He left the corporation 7 years ago to set up his own multi-media production company, Nevismark Ltd. He and his associates still do a lot of work for the BBC, both presenting and producing programmes.

He lives with his wife Jean and their daughters Rebecca and Jessica on a 10 acre small-holding in rural Aberdeenshire.


Eddie Copeland

Head of the Technology Policy Unit, Policy Exchange

Eddie Copeland is Head of the Technology Policy Unit at Policy Exchange, one of the UK’s leading think tanks. He is responsible for leading research and creating policy recommendations on how technology can deliver an innovative digital economy, a smarter public sector and a more connected society. Previously he has worked as Parliamentary Researcher to Sir Alan Haselhurst, MP; Congressional intern to Congressman Tom Petri and the Office of the Parliamentarians; Project Manager of global IT infrastructure projects at Accenture and Shell; Development Director of The Perse School, Cambridge; and founder of web start-up, Orier Digital.

Ellen Broad

Policy Lead, Open Data Institute

At the Open Data Institute, Ellen provides advice to governments and the private sector on how the potential of open data can be unlocked, and engages in debates around access to and reuse of data. Ellen's expertise is in copyright and information law. Previously, Ellen held roles managing digital projects and policy for the International Federation of Library Associations & Institutions (Netherlands), and as Executive Officer for the Australian Digital Alliance, Australia's leading source of copyright law and policy expertise.

Ellen has been consulted as a copyright expert for reports by organisations including the World Economic Forum, the UN Special Rapporteur for Cultural Rights, the World Intellectual Property Organisation and the Australian Government Book Industry Collaborative Council.

Roger Halliday

Chief Statistician, Scottish Government 


Roger Halliday started as Chief Statistician in November 2011. Before that, he worked in the Department of Health in England as a policy analyst managing evidence for decision making across NHS issues.

He qualified with a degree in statistics in 1993 from St. Andrews University and joined the Department of Social Security (as was) as an assistant statistician. He worked for spells at the Department of Health in England and in a number of statistical and policy making roles at the Scottish Government before leaving in 2005. His areas of expertise are around children, learning, skills and the economy, as well as in health.

Professor Nick Bailey

Associate Director of the Urban Big Data Centre

Nick Bailey is Professor of Urban Studies in the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow and Associate Director of the Urban Big Data Centre.

He has a long-standing interest in urban policy, with a focus on inequality, social justice and social cohesion. He has conducted numerous studies on poverty and urban inequality, including examining the important role played by public services.

Recent research includes work on the largest survey of poverty ever conducted in the UK, the Poverty and Social Exclusion UK 2012 Survey, and work on the impact of ‘austerity’ on local government services, leading to the Cost of the Cuts report for the JRF. Nick has advised national and local government on the measurement of poverty and deprivation. He is also on the leadership group of the Administrative Data Research Centre for Scotland. 

Andrew Mitchell

Business Development Executive at The Data Lab 

Andrew Mitchell currently leads Business Development activity for The Data Lab; a £11.3 million venture, backed by the Scottish Funding Council, which aims to generate significant economic, social and scientific value from data.

Andrew has 19 years of experience in the ICT sector and 12 years international experience in corporate and business-university collaboration and commercialisation.

He has facilitated over €12M in entrepreneurship education funding and executive education. In 2007/8 he secured funding for, founded and grew Informatics Ventures and established EIE, a leading UK annual investor showcase of high-quality technology companies. From 1999-2006 he worked for British Telecommunications PLC in an ‘electronic government’ corporate venture. Andrew has a Bachelor of Science (First Class, Honours) in Technology and Business from the Robert Gordon University in his home town of Aberdeen.

Professor Patrik Holt

Professor of Computing Science (Cognitive Engineering) Robert Gordon University

Professor Patrik O’Brian Holt BS (Hons) PhD MBCS CPsychol AFBPsS CSci Research Professor of Computing Science (Cognitive Engineering)

Professor Holt is a Computer Scientist with a background in Experimental Cognitive Psychology, Statistical Modelling and Cognitive Science. He leads the Cognitive Engineering Research Group in the School of Computing Science & Digital Media. Professor Holt has extensive experience in applied work R&D and consultancey, with industry across a number of sectors including defence, oil & gas and health. His research interests include the design of systems for interactive analysis of big data; visualisation and visual user interfaces for big data analysis.

Dr Claudia Pagliari

Senior Lecturer in Primary Care and Health Informatics, The University of Edinburgh

Dr Pagliari leads Edinburgh University’s eHealth Interdisciplinary Research Group and is Academic Director of their MSc in Global eHealth.

She has been involved in the study of eHealth for many years, including analyses of evidence, policy and market trends, and empirical research on consumer orientated digital technologies and national scale health information infrastructures.  She also has interests in digital social research involving social media and data linkage for academic and policy research. She is a member of the Farr Institute and one of the principal investigators on the ESRC Administrative Data Research Centre for Scotland, with a particular remit for research on ethical and societal aspects and effective public engagement.

Brian Hills

Head of Product Management

Brian has 17 years experience in analytics and software engineering, across domains including Telecoms, IT and Digital.  He joins the Data Lab from Skyscanner where he launched and grew the Business Intelligence team.  Prior to Skyscanner, Brian held analytics and engineering roles with Sumerian and HP.