PhD Placements


PhD placements

Fully funded 10-day PhD placements allowing students to gain industry experience, and businesses to solve real-world problems.

The Data Lab PhD Placement Programme

This programme is open to PhD students across Scotland studying in data and AI-related fields to undertake a short placement with industry partners. There is funding available to provide up to 50 industry placements for PhD students in Scotland over the next two years.

It is a unique opportunity for students to apply their academic expertise in a work environment (placements available will be across sectors) and for organisations to benefit from access to these skills with resources providing a dedicated focus to the chosen project.

Examples include:

  • Working on a Proof of Concept,
  • Contributing to a Research Paper,
  • Overcoming a business problem using data
The student has helped to develop this product from an early stage proof of concept to a product that is now commercially viable and scalable.
Net AI

Industry placements – Information for organisations

We are looking to partner with start-ups, SMEs and larger organisations from all areas of industry – private, public and third sector – to scope out interesting data science projects to match with PhD students.

The placements will typically provide organisations with up to 10 days of access to a suitable PhD student who would carry out a short project or piece of research for them (on a continuous (2 week) or intermittent (up to 8 week) basis). We will work with host organisations to help shape a suitable project and ensure that a relevant student is matched to your chosen project.

The students will be employed and paid for their time. There is no financial cost to the organisation or requirement to employ the student in order to participate in the programme.

Organisations based in Scotland are welcome to register their interest to discuss a potential research project or opportunity:

The Data Lab PhD Placement – Project Proposal Form

Alternatively, please email our Placement Coordinator Cheryl Stewart for further information. 

PhD students – Who can apply?

This programme is open to PhD students across Scotland studying in data and AI related fields.

Projects will be a maximum of 10 days (70 hours) in duration and may be undertaken on a continuous or intermittent basis by mutual agreement between the student and host organisation.  Placements must be completed within an 8 week period.

Students will be paid at a rate of £13.25 by the University of Edinburgh and will be required to complete employment checks prior to being accepted onto the programme.  You must have the right to work in the UK. Tier 4 students will be considered, but project allocation will be subject to project flexibility allowing for any visa restrictions on working hours.

 As well as matching students to placements we will also be providing additional employability support including a 1-2-1 CV review, interview skills and imposter training workshops.

This is a rolling call and applications will be accepted at any time.*

University of Edinburgh PhD Students and Early Stage Researchers

*We are delighted to be working in partnership with the University of Edinburgh Data-Driven Innovation Entrepreneurship (DDE) programme. DDE have provided additional funding to provide a further 10 placements for PhD students or Early Stage Researchers in the University of Edinburgh with an interest in exploring data-driven innovation.

If you are a UoE student then please apply via submittable The Data Lab PhD Placement – Student Application and view available projects by joining ‘The Data Lab PhD Placement Programme’ group on The Community Platform.  Please complete a submittable form and join the Community Platform to be entered into the Programme.

3 logos: The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Innovations and Data-Driven Innovation

Apply to the programme

Organisations can apply here:

The Data Lab PhD Placement – Project Proposal Form

Students can apply via submittable The Data Lab PhD Placement – Student Application and can view available projects by joining ‘The Data Lab PhD Placement Programme’ group on the Community Platform.  Please complete a submittable form and join the Community Platform to be entered into the Programme

Whilst we endeavour to successfully match as many students and organisations who apply to the programme as possible, the success of your application will depend on the relevance between project requirements and the skillsets of available students. The programme runs until 2024 (subject to available funding) and if we are unable to make an immediate match to your project submission or student application we will keep your details on file, and unless notified otherwise will continue to search for a match on your behalf.

To ensure both Host Organisations and PhD students have the best possible experience, please read these Host Organisation Guidelines.

If you have any questions or you’re an organisation that would like to host a student, contact Cheryl Stewart at The Data Lab 


For more information, or if you have any questions, please contact us:

Examples of past projects

  • AI in automated human vaccination
  • Blockchain driven sustainable chemical marketplace
  • Connecting electric vehicle drivers with nature-based tourism
  • Energy market price forecasting
  • Enhancing computer vision interpretation of vegetation photography
  • Machine learning for glucose prediction in diabetes
  • Reinforcement learning for herd mentality in investments

Kyle’s skill set was a perfect match for our business and the project grew to the wealth of his technical expertise. The placement led to a massive improvement in our product.


Monse’s current PhD is greatly aligned with our product and has delivered an exceptional report at the end of her placement with us. I would be keen to keep the relationship going with her and the rest of her group at UoE.

Origami Energy

Ross was an exceptional match for our project and has integrated well with the rest of the team, he has set his own weekly objectives and his programming, technical and theoretical knowledge has been a huge asset.