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Data Science Accelerator - the Sheffield 'hub'

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Part of my role leading DWP’s Sheffield data science team is working on the Data Science Accelerator scheme with GDS. We’ve now run two successful cohorts from here, and I’m looking forward to continuing with this success as the programme expands, to get even more people skilled in data science.

What are the hubs?

The Accelerator is mostly delivered through local hubs (in London and the regions) which meet every week. That’s where the agile coding, mentoring and sharing of ideas between participants all happen. We gain by having a stronger data science network, enabling us to host Show & Tells and spread knowledge in our department.


GDS, DWP and ONS have all signed up to this guide on how hubs should be run. In practice, GDS organise the Accelerator sift and arrange the mentors (except in Newport), and we provide a venue for coding and Show and Tells.

What it’s meant to provide mentors

During the last cohort, DWP contributed two mentors to the Accelerator for the first time. This is a great chance for them to learn coaching skills and for our team to increase our understanding of how data is used across government. This document explains more about what it means to be a mentor.

The Accelerator is growing

We feel like DWP is taking a real leadership role in expanding data science across government. More and more people are now taking part in the Accelerator programme and there will soon be more regional hubs - most likely further north and in the west.

What I’ve learnt from being involved in the Accelerator is just how much expertise there is within the civil service and what we can learn from each other.

I would love for more people to be involved in the programme and to benefit from the skills that have been developed. Do get in touch if you’d like to find out more about data science and DWP. Or if you have you any questions on the Accelerator itself, GDS would be more than happy to help.

Billy Blyth, Head of the Sheffield Data Science Hub

Further reading

If you are interested in the Data Science Accelerator, you may also like to read Accelerator Show and Tell and The Accelerator grows.

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