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St Andrews launches innovative research apprenticeship

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Scotland’s data revolution takes a step forward today (Monday 9 May, 2016) with the launch of Scotland’s first Engineering Doctorate (EngD) in Computer Science, announced today by the University of St Andrews’ School of Computer Science in partnership with The Data Lab.

This represents an important step towards closing the skills gap in Scotland – equipping students with one of the hottest skills sets in the employment market, and matching qualifications with employer needs. By connecting research engineers with industry sponsors the programme will apply cutting-edge analytics and data science to problems facing industry and create exciting new opportunities for economic, social and scientific development.

The EngD is an advanced research apprenticeship suitable for graduates and sector employees offering in-depth research training experience for research engineers. The course will be a collaboration between the University and industry sponsors, bringing together innovative Scottish businesses with world-leading researchers to position Scotland at the forefront of the data revolution.

The four-year programme will provide:

–        A taught component of advanced Research Training

–        Support from both an Industrial Supervisor and an Academic Supervisor to undertake individual research; defining, designing and evaluating solutions to problems posed by their industry sponsor

–        And placement within an industrial setting; allowing research engineers to develop skills and experience in application areas of the Industry Sponsor.

Professor Saleem Bhatti, EngD Director at the University of St Andrews, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for industry to attract talented new graduates, as well as to encourage key existing personnel into focussing on industry problems as research challenges.”

To mark the launch the University and The Data Lab are partnering to offer five Data Lab Prize Studentships, which will be awarded to Research Engineers who are judged to be offering the most exciting and innovative proposals for data-driven or data-intensive research. A Data Lab Prize Studentship will provide up to 50% of the fees and stipend for the four-year EngD programme, with the Industry Partner matching this funding.

Research engineers who are awarded Prize Studentships will also engage with various activities and events at The Data Lab, in its remit to build, encourage and support a community of data scientists creating economic and social benefit for Scotland.

Brian Hills, Head of Data at The Data Lab, said: “If the economic potential of data is fully unlocked, the value is estimated to be worth £17 billion* to Scotland alone. Partnering with the University of St Andrews is a crucial element in our drive to address the skills gap and actively enhance the pipeline of talented data scientists in Scotland. The EngD will develop innovative solutions for industry, with the application of data science through collaborative research. We can’t wait to get started and see the results of a really exciting collaboration with the University of St Andrews.”


Notes to news editors

Founded in the 15th century, St Andrews is Scotland’s first university and the third oldest in the English speaking world.

Today, the University is one of Europe’s most research-intensive seats of learning – over a quarter of its turnover comes from research grants and contracts. It is one of the top-rated universities in Europe for research, teaching quality, and student satisfaction. It is consistently ranked among the UK’s top five in leading independent league tables produced by The Sunday Times and The Times, The Guardian and The Complete University Guide.

The Data Lab is an innovation centre focused on helping Scottish industry to capitalise on a growing market opportunity in data science. Established with an £11.3 million grant from the Scottish Funding Council, 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 data for Scotland.

For information on the Data Lab please contact Stephanie Malcolm, Gerard Klein or Joanna Buggy at Grayling on 0131 226 2363 or datalab@grayling.com or visit The Data Lab website.

*Statistic taken from Data Opportunity Action Plan issued by Scottish Enterprise.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office, contactable on 01334 462530 or proffice@st-andrews.ac.uk.

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