Data Science Accelerator

Latest news

19 January 2021

Applications are now open for the latest cohort of the Data Science Accelerator programme until 12 February 2021.

A Data in Government blog post has also been published, where graduates from the most recent cohort share their experiences and advice if you are considering applying.

We will also be running a project clinic led by past mentors on Thursday 28 January from 3-4pm, who can help you decide if the programme is for you. To register your interest please email

What is the Data Science Accelerator?

The Data Science Accelerator has been giving analysts from across the public sector the opportunity to develop their data science skills through mentoring since 2015.

It is run by the Government Data Science Partnership (GDSP) – a collaboration between Government Digital Service (GDS)Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Government Office for Science (GO-Science). The Data Science Campus administrates the programme on behalf of the Partnership.

How does it work?

You will:

  • work on a data science project, chosen by you, over three months
  • commit to spending one day a week on your project, which forms your protected time (an important benefit of the programme)
  • be assigned a dedicated mentor (an experienced data scientist) for the duration of your project and benefit from peer support from other participants in your cohort

Changes to the programme due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

The programme is normally delivered from our regional hubs in Newport, Manchester, Newcastle, London, Sheffield and Taunton however, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, face-to-face mentoring is not possible. Instead, the Accelerator is being delivered as a remote mentoring programme.

You will still spend one day per week working on your project, but we recognise this may be difficult with current working arrangements. Your project schedule can be agreed between you and your mentor.

We will provide help and guidance for effective remote mentoring and we will facilitate virtual networking across the Accelerator community.


Your line manager and a senior manager (usually a Head of Profession or equivalent) must agree that:

  • your project tackles a business problem
  • you have access to the data you’ll need for your project
  • you can spend one day per week for three months working on your project

Coding experience is useful but not essential.

How can I apply?

You’ll need:

  • a project proposal
  • an explanation of what you hope to gain from taking part in the Accelerator
  • a statement of support from your line manager, Head of Profession or equivalent
  • to complete and submit the Accelerator application form

If you are unable to access the Google Form, you can email your completed offline form instead to

Application dates

There will be two cohorts running in 2021.

The application window for the first cohort is open from 18 January until 12 February 2021. The project work for this cohort will take place between 5 April and 25 June 2021.

The second will open on 14 June and close on 9 July 2021. The project work will take place between 30 August and 19 November 2021.

What do participants say?

Participants from previous cohorts talked about their experiences of the Accelerator in a blog post on the Data in Government blog.

Ciaren Evans (UK Hydrographic Office) and Lucie Woellenstein (Ordnance Survey) have also blogged about their accelerator projects in more detail.

For more information on this programme or other mentoring opportunities, please contact the Data Science Campus.