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LIDA Internship Programme

LIDA is committed to fostering data science talent for public good, and this is why it inaugurated its pioneering Data Scientist Internship Programme in 2016. The Programme satisfies a growing demand for skilled data scientists in industry and the public sector, as well as offering its interns a unique learning experience in a dynamic and multi-disciplinary research environment. Since its inception, it has so far provided 37 paid interns with hands-on experience and ownership of projects drawn from the fields of social science, health and engineering, using real-world data to tackle real-world problems. LIDA Data Scientist Interns collaborate with project teams drawn from across the University’s faculties, as well as partner organisations from industry and the public sector, in order to articulate practical data science solutions to these problems.

The contributions of the ten 2019/20 LIDA interns to national COVID-19 research initiatives such as DECOVID and Rapid Assistance in Modelling the Pandemic (RAMP) has proved a vital analytical resource at a time when researchers have been rallying internationally to try to understand not only the health but also the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic. Never has data science for public good felt so momentous. LIDA intern Holly Clarke’s work on public perceptions of linking lifestyle data for health research led to a highly topical blog series on test and trace apps. At the time of writing, the collective work of the 2019/20 cohort has resulted in a number of academic papers currently under review, a model for retro-fitting the Leeds council housing stock, and a number of endorsements from key external partners.

In response to analysis performed by one intern into modelling the school admissions system in Bradford for inequalities, the data partner from the Bradford Opportunity Area team said, “This was and is an excellent piece of work. It provides an immediate, practical benefit, by shedding light on an issue affecting disproportionately the most disadvantaged pupils in Bradford. It also stands as an effective example of improving public understanding of science, showing how data science and different presentational tools can be used to improve understanding of a live issue, by policy makers, front line professionals and other non-scientists.”

LIDA is proud to say that, in spite of the current depressed jobs market, many of the 2019/20 cohort have secured careers with some of our key strategic partners, including MIAC, ONS, local councils and other academic institutions. We wish them all every success.

With the 2020/21 LIDA intern cohort, additional funding has enabled LIDA to grow the Internship Programme to a cohort of 14 interns, thanks to major investment from the Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC), the Bradford Institute for Health Research (BIHR), and The Alan Turing Institute via the Centre for Immersive Technologies (CfIT). After a record number of internship applications in July (452 – triple what we would expect in a ‘normal’ year), these 14 early-career data scientists have emerged as an enthusiastic and talented cohort, eager to apply themselves to data science for public good. They are working on projects primarily in the fields of health, education and urban analytics, with several projects partnered with stakeholders in the local Bradford community, as well as with strategic partners such as ONS and Procter & Gamble.

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