Host Organisation Guidelines for a Successful Placement   

In order to ensure that both Host Organisations and MSc students have the best possible experience during the Placement Programme, we ask all participating organisations to agree to the following set of rules and regulations which follow ‘best practice’ guidelines.  

Given the current situation with COVID-19 and the degree of uncertainty in the short and medium-term, for this year only The Data Lab asks that all projects confirmed have the potential to be delivered remotely. Should this be the case, the student will be required to be in regular contact with the host organisation during placement (daily if required) and must be provided with access to the data and any specialist equipment required to deliver the project.   

1.    All students must be paid for their time working on this Project at a minimum of the National Living Wage. It is the Host Organisation’s responsibility to pay the student. (The National Living wage from April 2020 is £8.72 for anyone aged 25 or over and the minimum wage for those 24 or under is £8.20. See https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates

2.    The student’s terms and conditions of working and working pattern will be agreed upon prior to commencement of employment, in line with the Host Organisation’s normal HR processes. This is usually 35-40 hours.  There are a small number of students who would be interested in undertaking a placement on a part-time basis. If this is something that your organisation would be in a position to offer please get in touch with your allocated TDL or MBN contact to discuss.

3.     Project duration is normally 8-12 weeks and must end before the submission date of the student’s academic dissertation. Any time allowed during this period for writing up should be agreed upon with the student and academic supervisor in advance. If the project does not allow sufficient time for writing up, the project must end at least 2 weeks before the student’s submission date, to be agreed upon with the student and academic supervisor. 

4.    Any background checks, on-boarding, etc must be started as soon as the student has been identified and offered a Project. Please ensure any stakeholders (including external service providers) in this process are aligned as soon as possible and that the checks can be completed well in advance of the student’s start date.  

5.    Students coming from Europe may not have a NI number. HMRC are advising students that NI applications are not being processed at the moment. If this is going to cause a problem for your organisation, please let The Data Lab know.  (https://www.gov.uk/apply-national-insurance-number

6.    An industrial supervisor/s should be identified (preferably a permanent member of staff) prior to the placement commencing. The student will also have an academic supervisor who will liaise with the industrial supervisor and the student.   There should be regular meetings with the industrial supervisor and the student at least weekly. There should also be regular meetings (at least monthly) with the industrial supervisor, academic supervisor, and student.

7.    All technology and data resources for the Project should be sourced and accessible from the first day of a student starting with your organisation. Delays in providing these resources will result in project delays which can seriously impact the student’s ability to complete the project and their MSc dissertation.

8.    Any IP agreements/restrictions should be discussed and resolved before the placement commences. IP normally resides with the company with the stipulation that the student has access to the elements required to complete their dissertation. The academic supervisor will be the main point of contact on IP issues.  

9.    Any concerns over the Project or the students’ performance must be raised, in writing, immediately with the student’s academic supervisor. If these concerns are not addressed satisfactorily by the academic supervisor, this should be escalated at the earliest opportunity in writing to the Skills team at The Data Lab (placements@thedatalab.com) You will receive calls from The Data Lab before, during, and after the placement to check on progress and provide support.


10.  Please note that we use MBN Recruitment Solutions Ltd to assist us in arranging placements for students. Where you apply to become a host organisation, we may share the information provided (including your contact details) with MBN and they may contact you to take this forward. For further information about how we use personal data including contact details, please see our privacy policy: https://www.thedatalab.com/privacy-policy/


This form should be completed to accompany your CV when applying for an industrial placement.  The form is used to collect information to allow The Data Lab and MBN to match you to a suitable placement, taking into account preferences such as location and working pattern etc. When completing this form please try to be as flexible possible with your preferences.

GDPR Consent

This form collects information from Data Lab MSc students regarding their preferences for the placement section of their course. Your data will be held by MBN Solutions and The Data Lab. The data is collected to match students with available placement projects.  Data provided on this form will not be shared with actual or potential placement hosts.   This agreement does not impact the existing Studentship Agreement. Please see our privacy notice for information about how The Data Lab uses your personal information in relation to the provision of industrial placements. The privacy notice is available at: https://www.thedatalab.com/Student-Privacy-Agreement-Placement-Process.pdf

Additional analytics consent

If you give consent, the data from this form will also be analysed and used to make improvements to the matching process for this year’s process and for future cohorts; this may include training a machine learning algorithm using this data.    Analysis of this data may be made public and used for promotional purposes. Any analysis of this data which will be shared outwith The Data Lab or MBN Solutions will be anonymised such that no students are identifiable from the presented context.



Thank you for registering your interest in joining the TORCH Supplier Network (TSN). We're pleased to invite you take the next steps in our on-boarding process, and we request that you provide us with the following information:

1. Confirm your key business and technical contacts

2. Submit supporting documentation for membership – indicative rate card, and evidence of capabilities

3. Sign and agree to Terms and Conditions

If you have any queries in relation to these points, please contact torch@thedatalab.com


The Data Lab is looking for suppliers with a wide range of data and technology capabilities to join the TORCH Supplier Network (TSN). 

The TORCH service aims to enable successful innovation using data and data technologies and will provide qualified introductions for its clients to members of the TORCH Supplier Network based upon the client’s needs. Further information about the TORCH service and TSN is available in our FAQ page.

If you are a data technology supplier interested in joining the TORCH Supplier Network, please use this form to register your interest. If you have any queries in relation to this process please contact torch@thedatalab.com

A more detailed application process will follow and all suppliers submitting an application must agree to the TORCH Supplier Network Terms & Conditions.

Following the launch of your online training course, The Data Lab are required by our funders to collect specific data for a period of 3 years in order to demonstrate the impact that courses have had. 

You should have already completed a Project Closeout Report following the launch of your course.  If you have not already done so please contact skills@thedatalab.com.

This form is required to provide impact data for iterations of your course that have run since you submitted the closeout report and should only include data for course runs that you have not already submitted data for.  

 The Data Lab (administered from The University of Edinburgh) may share information about projects with the Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and any other appropriate organisation in the interests of developing and promoting the Innovation Centres Programme.   

Following the launch of your online training course, The Data Lab are required by our funders to collect specific data for a period of 3 years in order to demonstrate any impact that courses have had. 

Following submission of this form you will be contacted to schedule a project completion meeting to allow us to discuss and formally close off the project and agree how data will be collected for the remaining duration of the 3 year reporting period.

We look forward to learning about the impact of this project.

The Data Lab (administered from The University of Edinburgh) may share information about projects with the Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and any other appropriate organisation in the interests of developing and promoting the Innovation Centres Programme.  

This form is to update The Data Lab on the progress of the Industrial Doctorate project.

We will prompt you to complete this form after every 6 months.

The Data Lab (administered from The University of Edinburgh) may share information about projects with the Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and any other appropriate organisation in the interests of developing and promoting the Innovation Centres Programme. 

This form is to update The Data Lab on your progress in developing your online course.

The Data Lab (administered from The University of Edinburgh) may share information about projects with the Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and any other appropriate organisation in the interests of developing and promoting the Innovation Centres Programme.  

If you have an idea for a Industrial Doctorate (PhD / EngD) project but you do not yet have an Industry Sponsor you can complete and submit this form to provide an outline of your idea. The Data Lab will use this information to make relevant introductions to potential Industry Sponsors.

You can choose to make the information provided in this application private or publically available. 

This application is for the sole purpose of matching University Partners with Industry Sponsors. It is not recognised as a submission and it will not be reviewed by the Reviewing Panel.

If you are a company, public or third sector organisation and you have an idea for an Industrial Doctorate (PhD / EngD) project but you do not yet have a University Partner you can submit this form to outline your idea. The Data Lab will use this information to make relevant introductions to potential University Partners.

You can choose to make the information provided in this application private or publically available. 

This application is for the sole purpose of matching Industry Sponsors with University Partners. It is not recognised as a submission and it will not be reviewed by the Reviewing Panel.

Personal information provided in application form will be processed by The Data Lab [University of Edinburgh] in order to keep the Applicant(s) informed of progress with the Application. This information will not be processed for any other purpose. 


The Data Lab MSc Programme Funding Call for 2021-22

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 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 courses

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 two 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.  EU students with the right to remain in the UK may be eligible.  
  • 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 the 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 funded 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

If you have any questions, please contact The Data Lab at skills@thedatalab.com

Personal information provided in application form will be processed by The Data Lab [University of Edinburgh] in order to keep the Applicant(s) informed of progress with the Application and for reviewing purposes. This information will not be processed for any other purpose.  Reviewing Panel members from outside of The Data Lab will sign an NDA.

 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 on our website: https://www.thedatalab.com/about-us/our-culture-and-values/

The Data Lab aims to generate economic, social and scientific value to Scotland through the application of data science and AI.  To help achieve this, The Data Lab co-funds industrial doctorate programmes at Scottish Universities, in collaboration with Scottish industry or public sector organisations. These industrial doctorates are designed to support the development of data science talent at a PhD / EngD level, while facilitating collaboration between industry and academia through applied research projects. 

Funding for up to 50% of the programme cost will be provided, based on eligibility criteria with the remainder to be matched by an industry (or public / third sector) partner.    The project must be sponsored by at least one Industry Sponsor that has an operational base in Scotland.  

We are looking for applications from universities that have a proposed project with an industry or public sector partner.

There is no submission deadline for applications. The call is open to receive submissions at any time and we aim to respond to applications within 3 weeks of receipt. Applications will be reviewed by a panel and shortlisted applicants contacted to arrange a second stage interview. We aim to communicate final outcomes no later than six weeks following initial submission at which point successful applicants will be required to complete legal agreements following acceptance of the award. 

Please ensure that you have read the call guidance document carefully prior to completing the application.  This guidance details eligibility criteria and the information and evidence to be provided in the application form.

Personal information provided in this application form will be processed by The Data Lab [University of Edinburgh] in order to keep the Applicant(s) informed of progress with the Application. This information will not be processed for any other purpose. The form will be shared with third parties for reviewing purposes, but any reviewers external to The Data Lab will be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement prior to viewing the application.   Data will be retained on record for a maximum of 5 years.

Data Lab