On Saturday 8th October, we were delighted to welcome our 90 new Data Science students at The Data Lab MSc 2016/17 launch event. It was a great day full of networking opportunities, insightful presentations and group activities. The Data Lab MSc 2015/16 awards were also announced at the event, recognising the best student and best host company from last year’s industrial placements programme.
The Data Lab MSc has been developed specifically to build a high-quality pool of ‘data talent’ in Scotland that is equipped with the skills, experience, networks, creativity and confidence to succeed in employment, as entrepreneurs and as researchers.
The Data Lab’s MSc 2016/17 intake is more than doubling to 90 places funded across 7 Scottish universities – up from 40 places funded across 3 universities last year. This extended commitment underlines the growing need to deliver work-ready data skills into Scotland’s business community. Four of the courses selected for The Data Lab MSc are brand-new courses for the 2016/17 academic year in the South-West of Scotland.
All students on The Data Lab MSc are offered a paid, credit-bearing industrial summer placement towards the end of their course. This year we are working with MBN Solutions to deliver the industrial placements programme.
But we are going one step further this time. We have incorporated a challenge-driven learning initiative on top of each institution’s specialist data course, that brings together the students from all seven different universities in mixed teams for three intensive weekend workshops. Each group of budding data science talent will be tasked with solving real-life issues and generating economic impact to Scotland through data analysis. Through the ambitious Challenge Competition, the cohort of data post graduates will be charged with using datasets unique to Scotland to develop new insights, ideas, products, services or processes that will deliver social or economic benefit.
The year-long data Challenge Competition, which will be delivered in collaboration with Product Forge, is set as a requirement of all Data Lab funded MSc students where the best performing team will be awarded a prize. Teams will use data from open-source data sites such as the Scottish Government’s Open Data Platform and the Urban Big Data Centre. Students will address issues in three key areas:
- Identifying problems within business and troubleshooting to deliver a suitable solution.
- Devising a product or insight to support a start-up business.
- Analysing data and relevant insights to create a compelling story that is in the public interest in Scotland.
Three weekend-long hackathon events are scheduled which will see teams work in intensive environments to resolve the issues. They will receive guidance and support from The Data Lab as they apply their analytical skills to the datasets.
During the launch event, the 2015/16 placements programme prizes were awarded to the best student and best host organisation:
Have a look at some of testimonials from student and organisations that took part at last year’s placement programme:
The MSc programme is core to the Data Lab’s aim to unlock the estimated £17bn value of data to Scotland and generate 248 high-value jobs and a pipeline of data science talent to stem the skills gap. Find out more about The Data Lab MSc.