Data Science and Data Visualisation Accelerator Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

This page contains frequently asked questions about the Data Science and Data Visualisation Accelerator programmes, which you may find helpful. For detailed information about the Accelerator programme, visit the Data Science and Data Visualisation Accelerator page.

General questions

How many times a year does the Accelerator run? 

Both the Data Science and Data Visualisation Accelerator programmes run twice a year, in Spring and Autumn.

How many places are available?

The number of places on each programme is dependent on the number of available mentors. There is a competitive application process.

Can I team up with someone in my team and do it together?  

No, the programme is structured for one mentee per mentor. We do encourage that you share your learning within your own organisation.

Can I commit to working on my project over two half days, rather than one full day in the week? 

The programme benefits from having a protected day, and this is the preferred format. However, you may discuss with your mentor to see if there is scope for some flexibility. You will need your mentor’s and line manager’s approval to change your time commitment.

How much time do mentors commit to their mentees?

This varies according to the level of support required, but typically, mentors commit to a minimum of three hours per week.

What is the difference between the Data Science and Data Visualisation programmes? How do I decide which is the best option for me? 

Data visualisation is about interpreting and presenting the data, while data science is more about the techniques you use. When deciding which one is right for you, think about the end goal of your project. If you’re applying to the data visualisation programme, think about whether your project focuses on outputs. 

Application process

Can I send a draft of my application for advice and feedback?   

For impartiality reasons, the programme team are unable to provide specific feedback on applications or projects prior to submission.

Can I submit various ideas within one proposal?  

No, your application should detail a distinct project idea.

If I am not accepted to the current cohort, can I apply for the next one? 

Yes, you can apply for future cohorts.

If an application is rejected, will I get feedback?  

Due to the volume of applications we receive, it is not possible to provide detailed feedback, though brief comments from the sift panel may be provided.

Skills, experience and other requirements

Is it suitable for someone with intermediate data science skills?  

The programme is aimed at entry level data scientists. If you are experienced in data science, you might want to consider being a mentor.

Is it open to all grades?  

Yes, as long as you have good analytical skills and experience.

I am a placement student, can I apply?

Unfortunately, you would not be eligible for the Accelerator programme. The programme is only open to UK public sector employees from local and central government departments.

Is there a preferred coding language used in projects? 

The projects are mostly done in Python or R.

If I have very limited coding experience, is it feasible to upskill before the programme starts?  

Yes, if you are successful with your application, you will be given access to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Learning Hub, where you can participate in online data science courses.

Questions about your project

Does the project need to have guaranteed results?

It is difficult to guarantee the results of any project. Many projects aren’t considered complete by the end of the programme, but you will have created a proof of concept that you can continue to develop.

How can I determine an appropriate project or choose a data science approach as someone with little to no data science background?  

You could speak to colleagues with data science knowledge or seek support from the Cross-Government Data Science Community on the GovDataScience Slack channel

How do I find out if the data I need for my project is accessible?  

If you do not have access to the required data already, you should speak to the data owner or your organisation’s information management team about obtaining access.  

Can I work with sensitive or confidential data? What happens if my mentor is from a different organisation and does not have permission to use the data?

Please check your own organisation’s policy regarding accessing and granting access to the data you want to use.

Contacting us

For further queries, please email the Accelerator programme team or visit the Data Science and Data Visualisation Accelerator page.