Data Scientist Internship Programme

Data Scientist Internship Programme

LIDA launched the Data Scientist Internship Programme in September 2016, as part of our commitment to developing data science capability and driving multidisciplinary data analytics research.  The ten appointed interns are currently working alongside researchers from across the University on a variety of projects. 

The programme provides the opportunity for interns to:

  • Own delivery of a data science project and get hands on experience using real data
  • Establish links with project partners and work to provide solutions to real world challenges
  • Build skills and knowledge in advanced analytics
  • Participate in on-site training opportunities in statistical analysis, visualisation, research methods and computer programming
  • Work alongside leading scholars as part of the LIDA team and gain valuable work experience

Current projects include:

  • A genomic approach to evaluating the cause of mass mortality events in Saiga antelope
  • Petition Parliament Debates on Twitter
  • A data driven approach to understanding blood cancers
  • Monitoring hate crime and community tensions through innovative social media analysis
  • Analysis of predation from the fossil record

Meet the Data Science Interns

Molly Asher

Education: Bsc in Environmental Science from University of Sheffield

How I became interested in data: After leaving University I worked for a charity  doing research around energy efficiency and sustainable energy. During my time there I became interested in data and the way we can learn from it. I was introduced to the vast variety and quantity of data that exists and the programming skills that we can use to process it. I got experience in the use of a model which could simulate conditions into the future and was particularly interested in how this could be used to assist in policy making decisions.

Skills and experience I hope to gain from the internship: During my internship with LIDA I hope to improve my data analysis and programming skills, both through training sessions and through the opportunity to work alongside experienced academics.  The multidisciplinary nature of LIDA offers the chance to learn about how data is used in a wide variety of different contexts. Additionally, the structure of the internship programme offers the opportunity to learn from and work alongside fellow interns. I hope that during the course of my internship I have the chance to work with interesting datasets and I acquire the skills which show me the depth of analysis it is possible to carry out on these.

Where I hope to be in three years:  In three years’ time I hope to have taken on the skills from my LIDA internship and to have a research based role.

Charlotte Sturley

Education: I completed a BA in Geography at the University of Leeds in 2009. Following five years working as an analyst at Experian in Nottingham, I returned to the university and the School of Geography in 2016 to undertake a Master’s degree in Geographical Information Systems (GIS). During the Master’s course I studied modules in data analysis, computer programming and Web-based GIS.

How I became interested in data: I have always been in interested in geography and maps. I elected to study a module in GIS in the final year of my undergraduate degree during which I learnt how spatial data could be applied to tackle real-world problems. This sparked an interest in data analysis and I after I completed my degree I went on to work in location planning. My interest in research promoted me to study for a Master’s degree.

Skills and experience I hope to gain from the internship: During my time as a data scientist intern at LIDA I hope to gain experience of working with Big data sets and to learn new skills and techniques required to analyse them. I am also looking forward to working with academics and I hope the experience will help me to decide whether to undertake a PhD.

Where I hope to be in three years: I hope to use my data analysis and GIS skills to pursue a career in research either in academia or the commercial world.


Alice Tapper

Education: MMathPhys in Mathematical and Theoretical Physics at Oxford University

How I became interested in data: I completed a project in the physics department working on analysing photos of cloud cover, to try and help students decide when to do observations. I enjoyed the challenge of extracting meaningful data from images, and doing something that had a real world application.

Skills and experience I hope to gain from the internship: I hope to improve my programming skills, and get experience working with large data sets. I’m also excited to work as part of a multidisciplinary team – both with my supervisors, and with the other interns.

Where I hope to be in three years: I’d like to still be doing something in data science! Although I’m not completely sure what. Hopefully this internship will help me figure out my specific interests more!

Katie Nicoll Baines

Education: Phd-University of Leeds 2016, Masters by Research-University of Dundee 2012, Bsc(Hons)-University of Dundee 2010

How I became interested in data: Through doing scientific research I have come to appreciate the importance of empirical data acquisition and analysis and the power that this has to help us understand the world.

Skills and experience I hope to gain: Improve and develop my analytical skills, learn new techniques in computational data analysis and work with experts in this area.

Where I hope to be in 3 years: Research fellow at a University working on challenging and interesting questions in science.



Jamie Peterson

Education: BSc Mathematics University of Essex (1st), MSc Mathematics and Computer Science University of Leeds (result pending)

How I became interested in data: My fascination in data stems from the extreme competitive streak I experienced during my teen years. I was an obsessive gamer who would constantly try to evolve and develop the optimal strategy in order to defeat my opponent(s). Despite being young and having little experience of using data, I observed others, recorded games/results and slowly but surely acquired data. Using this data combined with game-play I began an iterative process of hypothesising new strategies and testing them. I found my abilities quickly grew, and led to success eventually holding the highest ranking. Fast forwarding several years and maturing through my undergraduate degree, I discovered that in the same that I tried to edge out my opponents using data, companies, health care providers and local authorities were all doing the same though in a much more sophisticated manor and this fascinated me.

Skills and experience I hope to gain from the internship: I hope to gain a plethora of skills and experience from this internship. My experience of data science thus far has been strictly academic. As such I am excited to see how the skills I have developed thus far can be implemented in interesting real world projects with potentially wide reaching implications. With regards to skills, the countless classes/seminars at the institute are an excellent resource to develop new skills in addition to honing skills I have already developed and are something I fully intend on taking advantage of. Specifically, I hope to further develop the programming skills I gained in my postgraduate studies and advance my modelling techniques. In terms of experience, I am excited to work on such a challenging project involving such a large team. I am interested to experience how the project develops both from a results perspective and a management standpoint.

Where I hope to be in three years: Aside from beating the odds by winning the lottery and retiring!, in three years I hope to hold a senior/midlevel data scientist position with an emphasis on analysing non trivial and unique data sets. In terms of where I am with regards to commercial companies or academic based research I am impartial and the prospect of a PhD is very attractive so I may go down that route. Irrespective of this, I simply enjoy coming up with creative solutions to difficult problems and these often arrive when data comes in unconventional formats and contexts. I also prefer more exploratory data analysis and I hope my future role reflects this preference. With regards to which area of data science I hope to specialise in, I hope to specialise in either modelling or data mining.

Natacha Chenevoy


Education: MSc in Bioinformatics

How I became interested in data: I started as a biologist and undertook a few internships in bioinformatics, mapping large-scale species distribution. I’ve been hooked on big data and data analysis ever since!

Skills and experience I hope to gain from the internship: I’m keen to improve my general data analysis skills all-round, and am looking forward to benefiting from the numerous training courses provided by LIDA.

Where I hope to be in three years: Three years is a long time, but I would like to become a data analyst and work for an institute like LIDA.