The Data Lab MSc Programme Funding Call for 2022-23

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 2022-23. Any shortfall between the University’s tuition fee and the £6000 scholarship must be met by the University, and not by the student or any other third party.

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 has been supported by The Scottish Government through The Scottish Funding Council from year 2015-16 to present and from 2016-17 to 2021-22 through the ESF Developing Scotland’s Workforce (DSW) Fund which comes to an end this year.

Now in its 7th year, The Data Lab Programme, including the 2021-22 intake, has an alumni of more than 880 students.  For the current academic year, funding from the SFC and ESF-DWS Fund is supporting 155 scholarships at 11 Scottish universities with students studying 30 data science and AI related courses.  You can view the full list of courses here.

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 certified MOOC on Data ethics, AI and      Responsible Innovation;
  • a cross-university Innovation Challenge;
  • sector specific employability and skills      training; and
  • an opportunity to undertake a paid industrial      placement in a Scottish organisation.

Student Funding Eligibility

For 2022-23, full scholarships are available for students who meet the Scottish Government’s Residency conditions ie are an “ordinary resident” in Scotland. Refer to this SAAS.gov.uk.guidance for more information on who can be considered for the funding.

Application Criteria

To be eligible to apply for The Data Lab MSc funding, courses must be ready for delivery to commence in academic year 2022-23.  Successful applications should demonstrate;

  • a strong focus on data science, data engineering and/or AI;
  • delivery of relevant and contemporary technologies that are in demand across Scotland’s organisations and      business sectors;
  • evidence of the sorts of roles that a graduate of the course would be suitable for;
  • strong links to industry in course development and delivery;
  • 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.

Where your university offers a suite of courses with shared core content, please submit one application eg MSc AI and MSc AI with SMI should be considered, for the application process, as a single course with specialisms.

The end of the ESF-DWS Funding stream will reduce the total number of available scholarships by about 50% from 2022-23. Currently, funding from the SFC is not confirmed but we would expect to receive the same number of scholarships as last year, 75 in total.   We continue to welcome applications from new and existing courses, but due to the reduction in available scholarships would expect competition for allocations to be much stronger than in previous years. We will prioritise courses which clearly meet The Data Lab MSc application criteria and provide strong evidence of industry relevance and demand for the skills being taught.

With the reduction in numbers, there is increasing importance to ensure that scholarships are awarded to students who will use them to best effect, recognising the value and engaging fully with the programme in order to maximise the investment from The Data Lab and Scottish Government.  The course review and allocation process will remain the same as in previous years, with successful universities awarded scholarship numbers to select the best candidates for their course.  However from 2022-23 The Data Lab will introduce an additional step in the process, whereby potential scholarship candidates will be required to complete a short application form for review and approval by The Data Lab, prior to scholarships being confirmed with students. This is to ensure that all successful applicants to the programme are committed to its aims and are best placed to maximise the opportunity, including the placement programme. Details will be shared on the new process in due course.

Call Closing Date:  17:00 Friday 14 January 2022 

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/

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.

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, we understand that employers will be operating in a number of different ways in regards to remote/hybrid working. If working mainly remotely, 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. If the project requires the student to work mainly/full-time in the office and remote work is not feasible please provide this detail when submitting your project form with reasoning. It is our duty to ensure that students are working in a safe manner at all time and are comfortable with the expectations in relation to work location.

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. Please note that from 1st April 2022 the National Living Wage will rise to £9.50.)

2.  The student’s terms and conditions of working and working pattern will be agreed 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 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 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 with the student and academic supervisor. The duration must be agreed by all parties prior to commencement

4. Timing of placements:  for most students this will be May – August 2022. We also have a number of students who will be looking for placements commencing in September, so please let your TDL contact know if that is of interest.

5.  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.

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. There should also be regular meetings (at least weekly) 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 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 and/or NDA requirements 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 and NDA 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 Placements team at The Data Lab. You will receive calls from The Data Lab before, during and after the placement to check on progress and provide support.

10. Should the student be offered further employment by your organisation within 12 months of the placement completion, a fee will be incurred payable directly to The Data Lab:

  • Public and third sector organisations – £0
  • Start-ups – £1000
  • Private sector SMEs – £2500
  • Private sector Other – £5000

The Data Lab reserve the right to amend these fees at their discretion. Income generated from fees is not for profit and will be used to further develop and sustain The Data Lab Masters Programme, enable the continuation of scholarship funding and industry placements in the future.

If the student leaves the role within the first 3 months of further employment, your organisation will be eligible for a full rebate of the fee.

11. The Host Organisation agrees to provide all information and assistance as reasonably required by The Data Lab for the purposes of The Data Lab assessing the success of the programme, promoting the programme or as required for reporting to its funders, this shall include but is not limited to, the provision of a case study in relation to the Project.

12. For further information about how we use personal data including contact details, please see our privacy policy. The information submitted via the Project form will be stored on a third party platform for the purposes of matching, but no personal data will be transferred.

GOV.UK National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates
The National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates: age, apprentices, previous years

Digitech PhD Industry Work Placement Programme


Any placements shall be subject to agreement to The Data Lab’s terms which shall be issued in due course

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 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 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 will be anonymised such that no students are identifiable from the presented context.



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.  

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.   

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 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