Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to provide workspace for the student?
Students can be based either on-site with the partner business, at the university, or a mix of the two.

How Do We Manage IP?
Hosting organisations will own the output of the work performed by the student in the course of the project. Hosting organisations will be expected to provide consent for the student to produce a dissertation based on the work performed during the project.

How much does the programme cost?
A contribution equivalent to the UK minimum wage is sought from partner organisations. For 12-week projects, this is typically around £3,000.

Is my organisation suitable?
We are interested in partnering with an organisation that can offer our students a challenging data science project that is related to their business activity. We have arranged partnerships with a diverse range of organisations from SMEs to multinationals and across commercial, non-profit and government sectors.

If your organisation processes significant quantities of data and either currently conducts a detailed analysis of this data; or wishes to enhance the analysis of your data, or wishes to apply data analysis to a new area of your business: then we're interested in discussing partnerships with you.

What sort of project area is suitable?
A project will be suitable if it allows our students to use the data science skills that they will gain during the taught component of their course. The core concept within our programmes is the 'Data Science pipeline' - this is a schematic describing the stages through which a research question can be answered using data science. The pipeline includes elements such as data preparation, analysis, visualisation and reporting: any project that relates to elements of the pipeline will be considered suitable.

Examples are:

  • Extracting novel information from existing host data sources (e.g. profiling customers from resource utilisation)
  • Creating insight from bringing together diverse data sources (e.g. generating insight from the synthesis of public demographic data with host data)
  • Investigating the improvement of existing data analysis solutions
  • Improving data visualisation and communication
  • Capturing insight from public sources (e.g. scraping Twitter to allow inferences about the public perception of companies and products)
  • Improving business decision support through enhanced modelling and inference

How will students be assigned to my project?
We will work with you to build a requirements profile that lists the skills and attributes that will be necessary to make the placement a success. We will invite you to present your placement to our students and will ask students to register their interest. Based on the profile that you have provided and the list of interested students you will be asked to shortlist students with whom you would like to discuss the placement further. From these discussions, we will look to agree on an assignment.

What if no students meet my selection criteria?
You will not be obliged to take any student that you feel is unsuitable for a place within your organisation. We will work to overcome any difficulties, but if a suitable student cannot be found the placement will not go ahead. In this case, no placement bursary will be paid. You will, however, retain your Data Science Partner status.

What if no students express interest in my placements?
We expect that we will be able to highlight the relevance of each project to the students' development and the opportunities presented. In the case where no students can be found for a project no bursary will need to be paid, but your organisation will maintain its Data Science Partner status and will be invited to collaborate in other ways with a view to finding a placement in the following academic years.

What if something goes wrong during the placement?
Academic and Support staff will maintain regular contact both with students and the hosts to ensure any issues are identified at an early stage. Initial responsibility for managing issues rests with Dr Simon Tomlinson (Business Engagement), with escalation through the course directors.

What if I can't agree on a suitable project with the university?
Placements will not proceed unless a project is specified which meets the following criteria:

  • The project must be related to the core activity of the host organisation
  • The project must be academically demanding as assessed by the University
  • The project must be related to more than one stage of the Data Science pipeline

We do not anticipate issues with specifying projects to meet these criteria, but all parties must be in agreement to enable the placement to proceed.

Who owns the project output?
IP rights will be held by the hosting organisation, with the proviso that the student is able to produce a dissertation based on the work performed and the university is given access to the work to enable verification of the account given in the dissertation.

We don't use the listed technologies - are others appropriate?
Provided the technologies used in the hosting organisation are broadly functionally equivalent to those used within the taught components of the MSc programmes this will not be an issue. Broad functional equivalence would imply that the technology used is of the same family of solutions to those listed in the syllabus.

What sort of projects are appropriate?
We've arranged a wide range of projects on previous courses including enhanced logging systems, improved analytical algorithms, developing android apps, enhancing satellite communication systems, improving security etc.

We envisage a wide range of projects suitable for our data science students - aligning with their specialisms: maths and stats enhancing algorithms and analytics, computer science analysing requirements for the implementation of new systems - enhancing existing systems.

Contact Us

For information on how your organisation can work with the Data Science Institute, please contact Dr Simon Tomlinson below.

Simon Tomlinson

Dr Simon Tomlinson

Data Science Business Engagement Manager

+44 (0)1524 510537 C73/C74, C - Floor, InfoLab21