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Read the latest news and blogs from The Data Lab and Scotland’s data science community.

Group of MSc students talking

Opportunity to get access to a data scientist to tackle a real issue in your company

The Data Lab MSc Placement Programme

The Data Lab MSc placement programme is now open for Scottish organisations in the data science space who would like to work with The Data Lab and partner MBN Academy to find about 130 MSc Data Science & Engineering students a 10-12 week placement for summer 2020. The student placement programme is a fantastic opportunity for these students to gain hands-on experience and apply their academic skills to real life challenges. All students are profiled and individually matched to host company projects in Scotland.  Students are studying at 11 Scottish universities on a range of data science, engineering and AI related MSc courses.

Do you have a suitable project?

We are looking for companies with an idea for a project. This is a great opportunity for you to get access to a data scientist to tackle a real issue in your company. Bethany Rodgers-Rintoul at MBN Solutions will guide you through the process, help you to shape a project and complete a project proposal form with a short description of your project, the background knowledge you require the student to have and the skills that you expect them to develop during your project. Placement Projects will run for 10-12 weeks between the period of June to August 2020.

We have 116 students ready to be matched with projects in a Scottish organisation.  Here’s what Steve Aitkin of Intelligent Plant said about the three students he employed on industrial placements last year.

We took on 3 The Data Lab placements this year, and each were given different sets of data and aims. When you look generally at data analytics the idea is to try to find nuggets of information from datasets (or in our case to create Apps that help people find them in their own).

I can absolutely say that in each placement we ran, gold was found in two forms: insights on data, and possible future extensions, and in the people that we worked with and their commitment and drive to deliver.


The opportunity to grow their data science skills in a real work environment allowed these students to move to the next step in their data science journey: two of these students are now in Data Science roles in Aberdeen and one is pursuing a PhD at Aberdeen University.

Contact for more information and advice on how The Data Lab placement programme could inject some burgeoning data science talent into your organisation.


Some other testimonials from host companies with student comments


This is the 2nd year DeepMiner have taken part in the MSc placement programme and we are delighted with both our placements who, have delivered significant cutting edge data science solutions for us.

Duncan Hart, Deepminer



 The Data Lab MSc Placement programme gave us the opportunity of employing an enthusiastic student with skills in data science. Natalie brought fresh eyes and an outside perspective to the project and evaluated how customers might engage with our data on the NHS Scotland Open Data platform and how useful the data is to use in visualisations and for building applications.

Stefan Teufl, PhD, Senior Information Analyst, Statistical Governance Team | Open Data Team
Current role: NHS National Services Scotland (ISD)



For me, the highlight of the course was my industrial placement with the Information Services Division of the NHS. I worked with NHS Open Data accessing data via the API, I learnt a new programming language which enabled me to create data visualisations and I built an application about Child Health in Scotland.  This experience helped me to secure my current post as Information Analyst at NHS, NSS.

Natalie Pollack, MSc Big Data, Student at University of Stirling
Current role: Information Analyst, NHS, NSS


Our Data Lab MSc intern a arrived with the skills and enthusiasm to not only complete a fantastic project using satellite imagery and machine learning, but also to solve problems and bring a creative and inquisitive approach to getting the most out of our project and our data.

Stephen Smith, Statistician
Data Science Programme and Farm Business Survey, Agricultural Analysis
Rural and Environmental Science & Analytical Services (RESAS)



The Scottish Government has a vision that data is used systematically to improve decision making, saving time, money and lives.  We are delighted to be able to offer challenging and stimulating placements to students to work within our analytical teams.  Our experience has been hugely positive, with a real two way exchange of ideas and experience between the students and the teams they are placed in, leading to some great outputs.

As an employer, we also see the programme as great way for talented students to learn about the impact and interest a career in Scottish Government can have and of course, we hope that they might also choose to develop their careers with us!  It’s been a really positive experience for us and we’ll continue to participate in the programme in future.

Albert King, Deputy Chief Data Officer at The Scottish Government



I took part in a placement with The Scottish Government in the Chief Economic Adviser (OCEA) at the end of The Data Lab MSc (I studied the MSc Statistics with Data Science at the University of Edinburgh) and this experience enabled me to get my foot in the door as a junior data scientist. I had a chance to learn a new programming language, communicate technical findings to non-technical audiences along with making meaningful contributions in the public sector.

All of those experiences not only have helped me further my skills but they also look impressive on a CV.  With this real experience of applying my academic learning to data science in the real world I was able to get my first data science job with RBS in the Data and Analytics Division.

Dawid Galarowicz, MSc Statistics with Data Science, University of Edinburgh




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