LIDA’s Data Scientist Internship Programme offers early career data scientists the opportunity to hone their expertise working on real-world data and topical research questions, whilst giving academics and LIDA’s partners the chance to harness new talent in finding novel ways to solve data problems. Since its inception in 2016, it has provided 52 paid interns with hands-on experience and ownership of projects drawn from the fields of social science, health and engineering, using data science for public good.
2020-21 has been a record-breaking year for LIDA’s Intern Programme, in terms of recruitment, outputs generated, and intern next destinations. 14 interns were recruited – LIDA’s largest cohort to date – who went on to successfully complete 20 projects drawn from the health, urban analytics, social policy and sustainability domains. The project teams were drawn from nine of the University’s schools and institutes, as well as partner organisations such as the Consumer Data Research Centre (CDRC), Bradford Institute for Health Research (BIHR), The Alan Turing Institute, Procter & Gamble and the Institute of Grocery Distribution. This year also saw the highest number of publications resulting from projects, most recently the paper Household visitation during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are delighted to share that 11 of this year’s interns have gone on to secure data science roles either in industry, the public sector or academia, and 3 have gone on to study for PhDs.
Projects in collaboration with the CDRC and BIHR in particular gave interns the opportunity to work on both local and national data to better understand, and anticipate, the health and socio-economic impacts of COVID-19. The CDRC Local Data Spaces project, in collaboration with ADR UK, ONS and the JBC, supported local authorities’ responses to COVID-19 by helping them to understand the multi-level impacts of the pandemic across demographics. This award-winning project produced a series of open-source geodata reports by local authority. Another CDRC project produced a dashboard of Isolation & Exclusion, identifying groups and areas most likely to be negatively impacted by social-distancing policies necessitated by COVID-19.
Projects in collaboration with BIHR worked with over 20 stakeholders, local interest groups, and policymakers and partners (including Department for Education, British Library and Bradford Council) to understand the effects of inequality in the region, as well as the spread of COVID-19 in Bradford. An intern blog series on free school meals, stemming from the Healthy Choices, Healthy Lives Bradford project generated impact with local MPs by looking at the inequalities of access to nutritious food across Bradford. You can read case studies on the methods and outcomes of last year’s intern projects here.
This year also saw the reinforcing of the Programme’s academic assurance through the inauguration of the LIDA Intern Programme Academic Advisory Group (LIPAG). LIPAG includes a diverse membership of academics from across the University under Intern Programme Director, Professor Alex Frangi. It supports the operational delivery of the Intern Programme, as well as formulating the Programme’s research strategy. You can see the full list of LIPAG members here.
The Intern Programme continues to be a great way to partner with LIDA on short-term research projects, as well as to build data science capacity in line with the Government’s AI Roadmap. This year the Programme has recruited 9 interns from an exciting array of disciplines and specialisms, who are already working on a range of projects broadly drawn from the fields of health and sustainability. They are already having a positive impact in terms of championing LIDA values of inclusivity, multi-disciplinary collaboration and global citizenship. We are excited to see what they will produce through their projects.
Kylie Norman, LIDA Data Scientist Internship Programme Co-ordinator