News & Blog

The Data Lab MSc Innovation Week

Posted on June 19, 2018

Two weeks ago, The Data Lab MSc Innovation Week took place. This is our flagship week-long event where we bring together all of our 130 MSc data science students from eleven universities to form teams and work on solving real-life problems using data. This year it took place at the Whiskey Bond in Glasgow. It was facilitated by Snook – a design agency based in Glasgow.

For the week we got six great challenges and datasets from Heineken, NHS NSS, National Biodiversity Network, Tesco, ScotRail and marine tourism organisations in the Highlands & Islands region.

We had three clear aims for the weekend:

  1. Help SOLVE real-world challenges of Scottish-based organisations using data
  2. Help students LEARN about how to define ‘real’ problems using the design process
  3. Create a COMMUNITY of students, meeting their peers across all of the Scottish universities.

Undoubtedly, we surpassed our expectations on all three of these aims. Here is just a taster of some of the ideas that the students came up with:

  • Prototype predictive maintenance algorithms
  • A prototype data sharing platform for pharmacies to improve the speed and efficiency of the uptake of prescriptions
  • An interactive visualisation for NHS NSS that identified the areas with the highest smoking rates and compared it against the uptake of smoking cessation activities
  • An educational app that increases wildlife reporting so that planned developments can take into account biodiversity in their decision making
  • A refreshed HR strategy to increase staff loyalty
  • A new process for data collection to improve model accuracy

Snook were absolutely fantastic and I would highly recommend their work. We already have demand from companies to be involved next year. Once company even described the student’s work as inspiring!

It was undoubtedly one of the best weeks I’ve had in my working life. There was a tremendous frenetic energy to the whole week. It was fantastic to see all our students step outside of their comfort zone to undertake such creative work.

By Joshua Ryan-Saha, Skills Programme Manager

Student blog post

One of our MSc students, Ian Watt, has written a blog: 'Data Lab Innovation Lab' for those who are interested in reading more about Innovation Week.

Some of our favourite #TDLWeek tweets:

Alisdair Gunn‏ @Aligg Jun 8
When you have over 120 energetic MSc Data Scientists in one room @DataLabScotland's working on a portfolio of challenges ... you just know we are going to create great services for good @wearesnook #tdlweek

Data Science Rookie‏ @john_g_bell Jun 8
Pitch day already at @DataLabScotland #TDLweek - we're proposing 2 prescriptions' to improve access to medicines and therapeutic services for those with chronic illnesses. One for now, one for later. To be taken immediately after pitch.

rufflemuffin‏ @rufflemuffin Jun 8
My team @wearesnook are the shizzle. Week long #tdlweek with 120 data scientists. The students were amazing too and @DataLabScotland pushing boundaries on teaching new skills in the data space #ftw

Marian Dunbar‏ @MarianDunbar Jun 7
The calm before the ready steady code at #tdlweek

Carron Tobin‏ @ruraldimensions Jun 8
Fantastic to be here and to hear the pitches first hand! 3 great #TDLweek ideas for growing the benefit of marine tourism on the west coast @ExploreArgyll @HIEScotland @ThinkUHI #wcmtc

Thanos Sklav‏ @TNS_Sklav Jun 7
Such an amazing challenge! An incredible opportunity to understand the #BigData behind the #Heineken brand. #TDLWeek #DataScience

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