Our marvellous MSc students have made it!
Congratulations to all of our 2020-21 students who have now completed their The Data Lab MSc programme. It is no mean feat to complete an MSc in normal times – so what our students have accomplished this year, during a global pandemic, is exceptional! They have battled through, embraced all their challenges, zoomed-it, teamed-it, batted cats off computers, passed exams, undertaken placements and succeeded!
Working closely with our partners, running new events, and getting involved in The Data Lab Community
By necessity, The Data Lab MSc programme had to grow and develop this year to ensure that our highly qualified data science and AI students, studying at 13 universities across Scotland, could receive the full benefits of our programme. We shifted and flexed to on-line delivery and two start dates. We worked with our brilliant partners to deliver Skills and Employability Training; Communicating in an on-line world workshop; a MOOC on Data Ethics and Responsible Innovation; collider events including Data Talent and a new format Innovation and Development Week and trialled new systems including Inkpath to manage the complexity of our events programme.
At the core of The Data Lab MSc Programme is community, so we were delighted to welcome our students to a Closing Event on 25 August. Our students now join The Data lab Community Platform so that they can continue to be supported by our community, and in turn do their bit to grow our fantastic data science networks here in Scotland. We know that The Data Lab MSc programme equips students with the skills that they will need to progress their career – this was so well illustrated by our keynote speaker Roger Adams, in his presentation “Life After The Data Lab”. This took us through his career path so far, landing in Tayfusion Digital as Analytics Manager, and about to embark on a part-time PhD. A great success story for Roger and for Scotland.
Student industrial placements and how they were run
One of the key aspects of The Data Lab MSc programme is the opportunity for students to undertake a paid industrial placement. This year, we matched 92 students with Scottish organisations in all sectors including 45 SMEs and start-ups, many of whom were new to the programme, and who benefited from The Scottish Government’s COVID recovery scheme which support the cost of student placements with a grant payment. All of our placements were conducted remotely this year and a huge thanks goes out to them and their academic and industrial supervisors for supporting this invaluable experience for both students and organisations. Celebrating this success, we invited students to submit short videos on their project/research experiences with prizes including a career development package and tickets to Data Summit.
Project video success
With four great videos making the shortlist, we were so pleased to award the winner of The Data lab MSc project award to Annabel Sinclair, MSc Maths and Data Science, Stirling University, who undertook her MSc industrial placement with Filament. Annie gave a fantastic flavour of what the experience was like, demonstrated how much she had learned and how she brought her own personal flair to play (data and croquet, it’s a thing now!).
Delivery partners and students brought closer together
Our “Thoughts for the future” session brought together some of our delivery partners, who have worked closely with our students during parts of the year, to wish our students well. Atholl Duncan who delivered our Communication Skills workshops, Bethany Rodgers-Rintoul MBN, Employability Skills and the Placement Programme and Euan Weilewski who delivered our Data Challenge during Innovation Week. As well as The Data Lab MSc Principal Data Scientist Joanna McKenzie, who reprised her “It’s not just about the data” presentation from our Launch Event.
Closing remarks and looking forward to the future
We had to skip the usual toast of a large glass or two, but that didn’t stop Gillian Docherty, CEO of The Data Lab, closing our The Data Lab MSc Programme 2020-21 with rousing and heartfelt best wishes for the successful future, professional and personal, of all of our students.
The Skills team at The Data Lab echo these words. We take our hats off to our students, we think you are brilliant, and we hope to see as many of you as possible, in person, at the first The Data Lab MSc Alumni event which we are planning for 22 November 2021.