A collaboration between Scottish universities and a government-backed data centre is to welcome its biggest ever cohort of postgraduate students.
The Data Lab MSc, a collaboration between the Edinburgh-based Data Lab and eleven higher education centres is now accepting for applications for 2018/19 and will see 155 students funded for their course, representing a 400 per cent increase from its first cohort funded in 2015/16.
Data science is expected to contribute £20bn to Scotland’s economy by 2020 and the increase in Data Lab MSc places for the forthcoming academic year is a result of higher demand for data science and engineering skills across a range of sectors in Scotland as well as a jump in the number of people interested in a career path in data science.
Students from the 2017/18 cohort are now undertaking paid three-month work placements secured as part of the course with Scottish-based organisations such as the Scottish Government, Wood Mackenzie, V-Ships UK, RBS, Standard Life and Merkle Aquila. The number of student placements has risen by 50% from the previous cohort in 2016/17.
New courses added this year include two at Heriot-Watt University and MSc Fintech at Stirling and Strathclyde universities. The MSc is funded by the Sottish Funding Council and the European Social Fund.
Joshua Ryan-Saha of The Data Lab said: “It is an exciting time to learn and work in data science in Scotland.
“The continued increase in the number of funded students and university courses for the upcoming year is proof of that. Data science is booming and companies are desperately looking for smart data scientists. The programme enables students to develop their technical skills and match their ability with Scottish organisation to drive growth of the economy.”
Robin Huggins of MBN Solutions, which matches Data Lab MSc students with work placements, said: “The rise in the number companies involved is testament to the success of this unique, innovative collaboration. We are pleased to have played our part in ensuring emerging data talent is prepared for the challenges that they will face within the industry.”