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Programme extended

Data Lab expands in response to growing demand

The Data Lab

Data science skills are in demand


The Data Lab has increased the scale of its training programme in response to growing demand from businesses for new technology skills.

Companies such as Clydesdale Bank, RBS, Scottish Power and Tesco, together with public sector services in the NHS, local and national government are hiring more data science graduates.

The academic year 2017/18 saw 130 Data Lab MSc places completed across 11 universities, with 76 of them undertaking industry placements at 50 organisations in Scotland.

In response to growing demand, The Data Lab has increased places available in 2018/19 by 25 to 155. This represents a 310% increase in places since the programme’s inception three years ago.    

Since launching its MSc data science programme in 2015/16, The Data Lab has supported 260 MSc places through 21 courses. It aims to extend this to support 665 data science MScs over the next five years, ensuring a pipeline of talent into Scottish businesses.

The Data Lab recently received £13.5 million in core funding from the Scottish Government, Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise for Phase 2 (2019 to 2024) of its mandate to establish Scotland’s place as global data leader. Its MSc programme, a core feature, is delivered in collaboration with academic and industry partners. 

Three of the 11 participating universities have added new ‘conversion’ MSc courses aimed at students looking to transition to a new career path in Data Science.

These cover Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Human Robot Interaction (all from Heriot-Watt University) and an MSc in FinTech which is available at the Universities of Strathclyde and Stirling, further reflecting increasing demand for data science skills.

Private firms including Think Analytics, SnapDragon Monitoring, Merkle Aquila, DeepMiner and Wood Mackenzie; and international companies such as Morgan Stanley and Previse are also working with data science graduates.  

Brian Hills, head of data at The Data Lab said: “Data science represents a multi-billion-pound economic opportunity for Scotland and we are committed to supporting the data science talent pipeline in Scotland to leverage this increasingly important skill across all sectors in Scotland.

“We are gratified to see a growing awareness of data science and its possibilities across many sectors and encourage organisations of every shape and size to get in touch to discuss how data science might enhance their profitability, sustainability and innovation both now and in the future.”

Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead said: “It’s great to see the Data Lab-supported MSc Data Science programme going from strength to strength and incubating the talent needed to support our ambition of making Scotland Europe’s data capital.

“Data driven innovation holds enormous potential and we are determined to ensure Scotland has the right digital and data skills to help our economy flourish now and in the future.”

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