What was the Data Lab MSc. Placement Project?

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. Data Lab funded 90 MSc Data students in 2016/17 and these students were offered the opportunity to undertake an Industrial Placement as part of their studies – 53% chose to take up that offer. The Data Lab MSc. Placement Project was about making this happen…

What was MBN Solutions role in the project?

The Data Lab published an open tender for the delivery of the Placement Project – MBN Solutions were the delivery partners chosen. This delivery consisted of 3 phases:

  • Skills/Employability Training to all Data Lab funded students on MSc. Data courses
  • Creation of Placement Opportunities
  • Matching and placement of students against these opportunities

How did MBN Solutions accomplish this?

Firstly, we delivered Employability training on CV writing, research techniques, Social Media networking and Interviewing skills at each participating University. We undertook a Marketing campaign that raised the profile of the Project, worked with individual interested companies and helped shape multiple placement opportunities throughout Scotland – with both private and public sector organisations. Finally, we assessed every individual student’s skills against opportunities, companies and sectors – and facilitated matching where appropriate (co- ordinated meetings, interviews, telephone dialogues, etc).


Project Title Examples

  • Natural language processing to extract molecular information for targeted cancer treatment (Health)
  • Inertial motion sensor movement classification using machine learning methods for the use of performance analysis of rugby union players (Sports)
  • Design and implement a deep neural network to automatically locate rooftops in high-resolution satellite imagery (GIS Consultancy)
  • Define the best next steps on how a content recommendations engine for a VOD player should function (Media)
  • Development of method and application to programmatically link spatial data (Public Sector)
  • Identifying and detecting data patterns that lead to equipment failure (Engineering)
  • Impact of current marketing initiatives via customer behaviour analysis and propensity modelling (Communications)
  • Developing predictive models using our large and diverse dataset of player behaviour (Gaming)
  • Connected Home Analytics (Utilities)
  • Quantifying the effect of behavioural biases in investment decisions (Financial Services)

Host Companies

Eventual Outcomes

MBN had 78 placement opportunities to share amongst 52 interested students. We are thrilled that 48 of those students began a placement in June 2017. Furthermore, we are aware that further employment opportunities have been created for a number of students to progress into on completion of their placement. We have conducted analysis around Scotland’s Data space including details of tools, technologies and skills both currently utilised and sought after which we have used to inform stakeholders in the Project. We are proud to have played our part in enabling a closer collaboration between all stake-holders in Scotland’s Data space (commerce and academia, public and private sector, etc).