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Lancaster to help plug 'Big Data' skills-gap thanks to new scholarships

Story supplied by LU Press Office

Lancaster University is helping to produce a new generation of analysts thanks to an investment in 45 Data Science MSc scholarships.

The newly launched Big Data Education Catalyst programme is set to train a new generation of experts to manage and interpret the huge quantities of information that are now being routinely collected by businesses and organisations.

It aims to deliver a cohort of professionals equipped with high quality technical skills in the field of ?big data? analytics.

Lancaster University is offering three Data Science masters programmes from October this year. MSc Data Science: Statistical Inference Specialism, MSc Data Science: Computing Specialism, and MSc Data Science for the Environment.

Dr Chris Edwards, of Lancaster University's School of Computing and Communications, said: "As technology has enabled businesses and organisations to collect ever growing amounts of information, there is an expanding skills gap emerging with a lack of people able to interpret and make commercial use of the data.

"These Data Science masters programmes are specially designed to help equip the analysts and data scientists of the future with the skills necessary to enable industry and organisations to make sense of the burgeoning amount of information that is collected.

"The 45 Data Science scholarships represent a fantastic investment in this important area by Lancaster University and would provide excellent opportunities to outstanding aspiring data scientists."

The programmes involve a mixture of taught modules and research dissertations as well as a placement in industry, or with a research organisation.

A recent report by PWC revealed that 62 per cent of business leaders believe that big data has the significant potential to create business advantage. While a recent McKinsey report has highlighted that it is an effective way for business to outperform their competitors. However, a recent government report highlighted that a new generation of skills are need to extract this value for UK businesses.

Big Data Workshop

A special event is being held at Lancaster University for businesses to share their views on what skills should be instilled in the graduates and help shape the new programme. The Big Data Workshop takes place between 10am and 4pm on June 13th. Tickets are available by visiting

Details of the programme offerings can be found at

Lancaster University has received £500,000 from the Higher Education Funding Council for England to run the programme.

Data analytics is a thriving industry under the banner of business intelligence. According to a recent search on jobs, positions advertised as Business Intelligence had an average salary of £47,500 and jobs associated with big data carried an average salary of £55,000.

Businesses and organisations interested in finding out more about sponsoring a student should contact Dr Daniel Prince by emailing or by calling 01524 510788.

Fri 30 May 2014