A MULTIMILLION-POUND centre dedicated to helping Scotland harness 'big data' online and convert it into useful information for ­business and public-sector organisations is to open later this year.

The £11.3 million Data Lab is projected to create at least 345 new jobs.

Researchers working at hub locations in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow will analyse online data, such as financial reports or customer behaviour, which clients can use to develop marketing tools and boost productivity.

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The Data Lab's focus will be on sectors including digital technology, energy, financial Services, healthcare, and the public sector.

Laurence Howells, chief executive of the Scottish Funding Council, which put up the cash for the project, said: "Tablets, kindles, mobile phones, online ­shopping; we all use and generate massive amounts of data each day.

"Our £11.3m investment will support The Data Lab to develop innovative techniques that will improve many aspects of our lives, from efficient energy use, personalised online shopping, through to faster and more effective medical care."

Neil Logan, Chairman of The Data Lab, said the ­facility would increase collaboration between industry and academia.

He said: "(The Data Lab) will play important role in Scotland's future by enabling industry and academia to work more together closely in the ­exciting field of Data Science. This will change the nature of the relationship between industry and academia by helping industry to unlock the value inside our world leading academic institutions."

Big data is one of the ­fastest growing areas of technology science. It is ­estimated it will be worth at least £216bn to the UK economy by 2017.