Information & Computational Sciences


The Information and Computational Sciences (ICS) Department brings together an exceptional combination of scientific skills and expertise. This ranges from genome scale bioinformatics to the modelling of edaphic or climate information on a geographical scale. The breadth of skills and resources in ICS provides the James Hutton Institute with a unique capacity to rise to the challenges that come from the new high-throughput data generation technologies that are revolutionising genome and diversity analysis.

The need to integrate information across a broad range of scales and develop a more integrative or system approach to our science and the computational resources available to the ICS department; provide the means to deliver truly integrative solutions to challenges that land and natural resource use is facing on both national and global scales.

A key feature of our work is to provide access to strategically important data sets through conceptual or data models thus providing a structured approach to the scientific and policy questions and risk analyses being addressed through the Research Themes. An increasingly important component of the activities of the ICS team is to maintain and develop our interactions with scientists and data providers at both national and international levels.


The activities of the ICS department can be divided into a series of major areas which include:

  • The capture/collection and structured storage of data in databases or data warehouses. This includes careful assessment of data quality.
  • The development of spatial or conceptual models to provide a structured framework to either query or mine these data resources.
  • The use of such models to make biological predictions, quantify risk and support policy advice.
  • In addition, as a result of thoughtful design choices, software and data-models from the ICS department are now in routine use by biologists around the world.

The ICS team works closely with our colleagues across the full range of activities supported by the James Hutton Institute and through interaction with BioSS and other computational departments at national and international levels strives to ensure that the James Hutton Institute Research Themes are able to capitalise on the opportunities that arise from state of the art computational sciences.