What is the International Data Science Accelerator Programme?

The Data Science Campus has designed the International Data Science Accelerator mentoring programme in collaboration with the United Nations (UN) Big Data Task Team on Training, Competencies and Capacity Development. It is aimed at analysts from National Statistical Offices (NSOs) who are looking to improve their data science skills and potentially become a data scientist in the future.

Mentee applicants will need to identify a certain challenge or problem within their business area that may be solved using non-traditional data sources or new data science tools and techniques.

The project will be experimental but should result in a prototype that can be implemented at the NSO. Some examples may include:

  • the use of web scraped data in the development of price indices
  • the development of a reproducible analytical pipeline using an open-source coding tool
  • the application of machine learning techniques to shipping data to produce estimates of trade or tourism.

We are accepting pairs (or teams of maximum three people) of mentees working on the same project and pairs of mentors as well.

How it works

Applications, sifting and mentee or mentor allocations

The mentee submits the application form linked below, detailing a project proposal on which they would like to receive data science mentorship.

Please note that the project proposal must have line management and senior leadership approval at the NSO. They must agree that it fits with the NSO’s data strategy, and the applicant must be allocated time to do the work by their line manager. It’s also important that the mentee has permission to share unrestricted project-related data with their mentor.

Applications will be sifted, and if successful, the mentee will be matched with an experienced data science mentor. Applications will also be sought from data science mentors and will be collated and stored on our mentor database so they can be matched with mentees according to their skills and area of expertise.

There will be a short period before the programme starts where mentors and mentees will be able to familiarise themselves with one another and agree a suitable mentoring day. Mentors will be given access to training materials to support their mentoring role.

Programme structure

During the 12-week programme, the mentee will spend one day per week working on the data science project and will receive remote support from their mentor for two to three hours on their agreed day of the week. If this is not possible, the mentor and mentee can agree a more suitable equivalent to accommodate clashes with schedules, time zones, etc. The mentor and mentee should ideally have access to Microsoft Teams or another video conferencing tool to ensure effective communication throughout the cohort.

Taking the programme further

We had five mentees in the first cohort, with mentors from the National Statistical Organisations (NSOs) of Sri Lanka, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Czechia and Brazil supporting them.

To ensure the programme continues to flourish, we need more mentors. If you are an experienced data scientist and can give a maximum of one day per week for 12 weeks to invest in the growth of data science globally, please contact us.

We have included some examples of projects submitted to the International Accelerator that we would support. For some of these we managed to find mentors, but not all are currently being mentored.

Mentee application form

Mentor application form