Collaborate with data science specialists


Collaborate with data science specialists

We provide funding, specialist expertise and project management support to enable industry, academic researchers and data science specialists to work together to innovate with data.

Get access  to the cutting-edge expertise you need to develop truly innovative solutions that help your company unlock the potential of data and stay ahead of the curve. 

Getting funding for projects

Depending on the level of funding projects are seeking to leverage,  projects will either be assessed by an industry-led panel and approved by The Data Lab’s Innovation Advisory Board or by an internal Data Lab panel. 

Projects must have a clear economic and/or societal outcome in mind and have a contribution from an industrial or public sector partner, with a focus on the end benefit to Scotland.

The Data Lab have access to Ultra, a supercomputer hosted by EPCC, which we can use to confidentially upload/store information, and use it as a platform for secure data analysis. 

Data Lab internal data science resource

Not all data projects require cutting edge academic support. Sometimes an organisation just needs an expert nudge from a professional data scientist. In these cases, support from the Data Lab’s internal experts can help.

Internal data science projects are up to 20 days of data scientist time, and are available to organisations in any sector with a presence in Scotland. We will work with you to scope your project, refine our contribution and to help you embed it in your organisation.

If you have a challenge that a data scientist could potentially help with, contact the Data Lab for more information about our scoping and project support.

How to apply for funding

Any sector or industry can apply for our project funding; ranging from Oil & Gas, Healthcare, Food & Drink to Tourism, Agriculture and Financial Services  and any others. We work with any industrial, public sector or academic institution – small, medium or large – as long as they have a registered office in Scotland. 

If you require this document in an alternative format please contact The Data Lab, by email: or telephone: 0131 651 4905

Data Lab projects will typically feature:

  • one or more industrial or public sector partners
  • one or more university researchers (ranging from senior academics to research associates)
  • professional project management staff to ensure that these projects run to plan to give industry the predictability they require data scientists and software engineering staff allocated to work in collaborative teams featuring academic researchers and industry professionals use of The Data Lab’s resources where available Projects will vary in size, typically 3-12 months in length.

External funding

If your project doesn’t qualify for The Data Lab funding, we can help you with your applications for external funding grants.

Find out more about our project funding process by clicking on the drop-down boxes below:

If you have a data science project, idea or concept and would like more information on how we might be able to help; please get in touch with us by email A member of staff from our Business Development Team will be in touch with you over the next couple of days and will be able to help you with your query.

Here is an overview of our guidance & eligibility as part of our project funding:

  • The Data Lab does not provide funding directly to industrial or public sector partners. We provide project funding to cover aspects of academic institution costs associated to delivering data science joint/collaborative projects.
  • There must be at least one industrial or public sector partner(s) and an academic partner involved in your project, or a The Data Lab data science expert. If you don’t have a partner from industry, public sector or academia, please get in touch with us as we may be able to identify a collaborator.
  • As we are funded by the Scottish public sector, there must be clear economic and/or social impact(s) that benefit Scotland as a result of delivering your project, idea or concept successfully. As part of economic impact, the approach to how intellectual property will be administered and potential routes to exploitation must be agreed in advance of the project commencing. The Data Lab can work with industrial, public sector or academic partner(s) as part of this process.
  • There must be a clear ability to execute the project from both industrial, public sector and academic partner(s). This can be demonstrated through previously delivered research & development projects, domain or technical expertise.
  • There must be an element of novel & innovative applications of data science/AI techniques. This can be novel & innovative for the industry or public sector landscape, as well as, new applications of applied academic research.
  • Applicants should be in a position to commence projects within 3 months of approval.
  • The expected duration of funded projects varies anywhere from a couple of days through to around 12 months. The Project should be able to demonstrate that it can be completed to its key milestones & work packages within this time.
  • Project proposals should typically be within Technology Readiness Levels 3 to 6 (TRL)(See section G in the link).
  • Projects must comply with State Aid rules. Please read our State Aid guidance before applying
After discussing guidance & eligibility with our Business Development Team you will be assigned a Regional Business Development Executive. Your Business Development Executive will work with the industrial, public sector and academic partner(s) to develop an application for funding. If you are an industrial or public sector partner and do not have an academic partner, please do not worry, we can help you identify the best suitable contact as part of your joint/collaborative project. As mentioned above we will work with you to complete your application for funding, as part of this, our application form will request the following information:
  • Details of key partners involved in delivery from Industry, Public Sector and Academia.
  • Project Overview & Summary.
  • Commercial & Societal Impact.
  • Ability to Execute the Project.
  • Demonstration of Novelty & Innovation through the Application of Data Science.
  • Project Focus/Plan; key milestones, work packages, deliverables, risks & project management approach.
  • Budget Form; funding sought from The Data Lab, in-kind & cash contributions from Industrial & Public Sector Partner(s) and in-kind & cash contributions from the Academic Partner(s).Please note, Industrial & Public Sector Partner(s) should at minimum match the funding sought from The Data Lab. More information on Cash Contributions can be found below:
Funding Sought Small Enterprise Medium Enterprise Large Enterprise
< £20,000 from The Data Lab 25% Cash 35% Cash 50% Cash
> £20,000 from The Data Lab 25% Cash 35% Cash 40% Cash
  • Data Due Diligence.
  • Intellectual Property & Legal Agreements.
  • Supporting Statements.
  • Declarations & State-Aid.

If required, a project workshop can be arranged by your Regional Business Development Executive to discuss aspects of delivery between Industrial, Public Sector and Academic Partner(s).

Applications for funding will be reviewed by The Data Lab & Innovation Advisory Board, the timescales for expected approval will depend on the duration of the proposed project. Your Business Development Executive will advise on the timescales for expected approval.

Applications for funding will be scored based on the following criteria:

  • Commercial & Social Impact in Scotland
  • Ability to Execute the Project Successfully
  • Novelty & Innovation

Applications for funding that are less than £20,000 will be reviewed by The Data Lab Management Team & CEO based on the above criteria. Applications for funding that exceed £20,000 will be reviewed by our Innovation Advisory Board which consists of members from Industry, Public Sector & Academia, as well as, at least one member of staff from The Data Lab overseeing the process. Project Partners that are invited to our Innovation Advisory Board Review Panel will undergo a shorter summary application which is reviewed prior to the regular board meeting, if approved in principle, you will be invited to complete a full application form and to provide a pitch presentation for your proposal. Your application form & pitch presentation will be scored on the above criteria by board members. Your Business Development Executive will work with you and support you through this process from completion of the shorter summary application to the full application and pitch presentation – providing you with guidance at each key stage.

If your application for funding is successfully approved, you will be notified by your Business Development Executive within 2 Days. Your application will then be passed to our Legal & Contracts Manager who will send the Project Partner(s) an Offer Letter including a claims form & guidance on how to progress. You can find more information on our IP process here – Intellectual Property Guidance.

All decisions made by The Data Lab and our Innovation Advisory Board in relation to funding are made in a fair, open and transparent manner. Unsuccessful applicants can request feedback on why the application for funding was rejected. Feedback would aim to be constructive and outline particular areas for improvement. Whilst a final decision may be made not to fund your proposal, you may have the opportunity to apply again in the near future should your revised proposal meet the criteria for our funding.

After you have completed the Legal & Contractual stages of your application for funding your project will commence. As per the application form you will have agreed the project management approach in principle and will be assigned a Project Development Manager from The Data Lab. Your Project Development Manager will not directly manage your project, they will provide governance with partners involved in the delivery of key milestones and work packages to ensure delivery is as smooth as possible.

Collaborative projects

We can provide funding for University partners for collaborative innovation projects with a clear commercial outcome. 

Eligible companies may be able to obtain innovation support from other sources including Scotland’s enterprise agencies (Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise), the Innovate UK and EU programmes. The Data Lab will, where appropriate, seek to identify and signpost partners to appropriate support schemes that are appropriate to the project being proposed.