The Scottish Crime Data Hackathon (Tues 25, Wed 26 & Thurs 27 July) aims to bring together researchers from across disciplines to develop new and innovative insights into policy-relevant crime and justice questions

This is an opportunity to unleash your creative ideas, hone your analytical skills, explore new data, build connections, and showcase your work!

During the three-day event, participants will be split into teams to conduct research on contemporary criminological topics using the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey. Participants are required to attend all three days, working collaboratively to produce sharable outputs based on their research findings.

We aim to create an inclusive experience and welcome researchers from all disciplines and skill sets. The strength of a team lies in its diversity!

Whether you want to try out a new method, do research that matters for policy, or just meet new people from a different discipline, we would love for you to come and join us.

Please note that places are limited, and we will be able to accept a maximum of 20 participants.


What is a ‘hackathon’?

A hackathon is an event, typically lasting several days, which bring together people to engage in collaborative problem-solving.

Aren’t hackathons just for programmers?

Traditionally, they involve computer programmers, developers, data scientists, designers, or other domain experts. However, for our event, we welcome researchers from all disciplines and skill sets.

If you have a background in criminological research or an interest in applying your skills (quantitative or qualitative) to help create innovative solutions to questions about crime in Scotland, we would love you to hear from you!

If you would like to discuss your suitability for this event in more detail, please contact one of the organisers.

How long will it be and is it online?

The event will run across three consecutive days. Participants can attend in person or online. For those attending in person, the first two days will be held at the University of Edinburgh, before moving to the University of Stirling for the final day. Lunch will be provided for those attending in person on each day, with a dinner provided after the first day in Edinburgh.

Participants will work on their own laptops, and can use the software of their choosing. To participate in the Hackathon in-person, you must bring a laptop with you.

Do I need to come as part of a team?

Participants will be brought together into teams by the organisers based around areas of interest. Applicants are asked to include details of their preferred areas on the booking form to allow groups to be set up prior to the event.

What will my team be expected to produce? Who owns the outputs?

Teams will decide what form their final output will take. Outputs could be a short report (4-5 pages), a webpage or dynamic visualisation, comic, or a video.

We encourage participants to think about how they will make their outputs accessible to a broad range of audiences.

Outputs from all teams will be included in a SCCJR briefing, which will be circulated to relevant policy makers after the event.

Authorship of all outputs will be owned by you and your team members (this includes all code), but we strongly encourage participants to make their code available online.

Indicative research themes

The themes for the Hackathon will be finalized working with stakeholders in criminal justice in Scotland. Indicative themes may include:

  • anti-social behaviour
  • factors associated with violence
  • violence against women and girls
  • involvement with the justice system


We require you to be either a doctoral researcher or researcher at a UK Higher Education institution.

We welcome applicants with different analytical skills and experience levels. There is no requirement to have participated in a hackathon before, nor to be a quantitative expert / data scientist / programmer. All we ask is that applicants are curious about crime and justice problems that are facing Scotland and are open to trying something new!

Participants will be required to sign up for an account with the UK Data Service ( prior to the Hackathon in order to access the SCJS datasets. Further information will be included in joining instructions circulated to participants prior to the Hackathon.

Timings & Schedule

The event will run from 09:30 to 16:00 each day, with a 1 hour lunch break from 13:00 to 14:00.

Applications & cost

The event is free to attend, with lunch provided for participants. This event is funded by the SCCJR.

If you would like to attend the Hackathon, please complete and submit the online form ( Closing date for applicants is 16 June 2023.

Applicants will be notified by 23 June 2023 if their application has been successful.

Further information

If you have any other questions not answered here, please get in touch with Ben Matthews ( or Vicky Gorton (