News & blog

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

The Data Lab MSc Programme Funding Call for 2021-22 

Scottish Universities – apply for course funding

The Data Lab MSc is a collaborative programme between The Data Lab, Scottish Universities and industry partners, which aims to develop talented data scientists and engineers to support the Scottish economy.

This call is open to Scottish Universities to apply to receive £6000 per student to cover MSc course tuition fees for data science, data engineering and artificial intelligence related courses for the academic year 2021-22.   We welcome applications from specialist courses, such as Health Data Science, Sports Data Science and non-STEM disciplines such as social science courses with a strong data focus.

Funded students will join the highly successful The Data Lab MSc Programme which, in addition to providing a scholarship, provides a range of opportunities to apply academic knowledge to the world of industry, and develop non-technical skills that are essential to becoming a data scientist.

The Data Lab MSc Programme

The Data Lab enables industry, public sector and world-class university researchers to innovate and develop new data science capabilities in a collaborative environment. Its core mission is to generate significant economic, social and scientific value from big data.

The skills needed to exploit the data opportunity are in great demand and short supply. The Data Lab is working with industry and Scottish Universities, through The Data Lab MSc programme, to create a pipeline of talented data scientists and engineers, equipped with the relevant skills to meet the data science skills gap.  The Data Lab MSc differs from other academic courses as it focuses on applying academic knowledge to the world of industry, and on developing non-technical skills that are essential to becoming a data scientist.  The programme is supported by The Scottish Government through The Scottish Funding Council and the ESF Developing Scotland’s Workforce (DSW) Fund.

Now in its 6th year, The Data Lab Programme, including the 2020-21 intake, has an alumni of more than 720 students.  For 2020-21 the SFC/ESF-DSW and HDRUK funding is supporting 160 scholarships at 12 Scottish universities with students studying 29 data science and AI related courses.  You can view the full list of data science courses that we are funding.

We offer so much more than just scholarship funding

In addition to scholarship funding, the programme delivers additional training and networking opportunities which all students are required to attend including:

  • events designed to facilitate networking with the whole student cohort, data leaders, professionals, researchers and organisations looking to recruit students;
  • a cross-university Innovation Challenge or Bootcamp;
  • sector specific employability and skills training; and
  • the opportunity to undertake a paid industrial placement in a Scottish organisation.

Funding Eligibility and Criteria

For 2021-22 there will be 2 funding streams:

  • SFC PGT places: Students must meet the SFC eligibility requirement to be eligible for the funding, eg based in Scotland. Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland or the EU are not eligible for this funding.
  • European Social Fund – Developing Scotland’s Workforce: 2021-22 is the final year of funding through this funding stream. Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland or the EU are not eligible for this funding. EU students with Right to Remain in the UK may be eligible.

To be eligible to apply for The Data Lab MSc funding, courses must be ready for delivery to commence in academic year 2021-22.  Successful applications should demonstrate:

  • a strong focus on data science, data engineering and/or AI;
  • innovation and creativity in course delivery;
  • high standards and the teaching of data ethics and responsible data science/AI embedded throughout the course;
  • a demonstrable commitment to maximising diversity in applicants (examples of initiatives to reach out to underrepresented applicants); and
  • willingness (for new courses) and evidence (for existing courses) of strong engagement with The Data Lab MSc programme and support of The Data Lab MSc placement programme.

We expect the funding allocation from SFC/ESF to remain the same for 2021-22. In total 155 scholarships are available.  The ESF funding stream will support full-time studentships only for the final year of the programme.  We will continue to support part-time places through SFC funding.

Applicants should note that the ESF-DSW funding comes to an end after 2021-22 and so the number of scholarships available for 2022-23 is likely to be around 75.

Call Closing Date:  Monday 11 January 2021

To apply, please complete The Data Lab MSc Programme Funding Call 2021-22 Application form.  

If you have any questions, please contact The Data Lab at 


The Data Lab’s mission is to help Scotland maximise value from data and lead the world to a data powered future.  We believe that how we do this is equally as important as the mission itself and this is why our culture and values are the heart of everything we do and we ask collaborators to follow these too.  Read more about our Culture & Values.


Share this story:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email