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DSSGx UK 2022 - Frequently Asked Questions

What are the end and start dates of the DSSGx UK fellowship?

The dates are Monday 6th June – Friday 26th August inclusive.

What is the goal of the fellowship?

The fellowship is a project-based training programme designed to produce data scientists with strong skills in solving real-world problems and an understanding, excitement, and passion for solving problems with social impact. We have three goals (prioritized in that order):

  1. Training fellows: We want to help create the next generation of data scientists who have the data science skills to solve real-world problems and are passionate about focusing their efforts on solving social challenges.
  2. Exposing and training governments and not-for-profits to better use data to make better decisions.
  3. Community: Seeding a community of people and organisations working together to make an impact.

What is the culture of the fellowship?

Collaborative, Creative, and Inclusive. We know we don’t know everything and want everyone involved to shape the fellowship. We’re open to ideas, criticism, and help. Yes, we are data-driven but more than that, we’re problem-driven. We care about impact and how our work is used to improve society.

What happens during the fellowship?

Most of the summer, fellows work with their team on their project. We augment that with lectures, hands-on workshops, seminars (from local and visiting guests), and various social activities. Some of these are planned in advance, others are co-created and led by the fellows and mentors as they learn about what they would like to do over the summer.

We try to balance getting things done with learning and training. We believe that the best way to learn is by doing, and the fellows who join us want to make an impact by solving the problem they’re tackling.

Where does the fellowship take place?

The DSSGx UK fellowship will be based at the University of Warwick campus, in Coventry, UK. Accommodation will be very close to the campus and there are great facilities and transport links available. For more information Explore Warwick

The DSSGx Germany fellowship will be based at the University of Kaiserslautern and German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence, in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Explore Kaiserslautern

How do I apply?

The link to the application form is available on the website - Data Science for Social Good (warwick.ac.uk/dssgx) It will open the application form and there is a link to download a pdf to allow you to prepare your responses.

Who is an ideal fellow?

There is no single profile for an ideal fellow. Successful fellows have different skill profiles and backgrounds in order to create a collaborative community. Everyone has some programming, statistics and data analysis skills in addition to a passion for making social impact. Some are stronger at computer science and machine learning. Others have a strong applied maths or statistics background. Some come from a quantitative social science, economics, or public policy background. Others have physics or chemistry or geography or linguistics degrees. We’re not expecting you to be awesome at everything. Tell us what you’re good at and what you’d like to learn. In addition, personality and communication skills matter! If you’re passionate about a cause or social issue, tell us about it in your application. If there’s a recent project you’ve done that you’re proud of, we’d like to hear about it.

What year do I need to be at university to apply?

Most of our fellows are late stage undergraduate or graduate students, including PhD students. Having said that, we look at skills, not at the number of university years. So if you feel you have both the computational skills and passion to excel, we’d love to see your application.

How competitive is admission to the DSSGx UK summer fellowship programme?

In 2021, there were 470 applications, for 16 places.

At what time on the 14th February will applications close?

Fellow applications close at 12 noon, GMT.

Can you give me an update on my application status?

You will receive a confirmation after submitting your application. After we have reviewed your application, you will either receive an invitation for interview, or a notification that you haven’t been successful.

What is the application process?

Once applications close on the 14th of February, we will start the review process aiming for the following dates.

  • Second half of February: initial review round starts
  • Middle of March: review round completed, all applicants moved to interview round or notified
  • Mid-March to mid-April: technical interviews
  • Mid to end-April: second round of interviews
  • End of April: decision emails sent out (acceptances, places on the waiting list, or rejections)
  • Mid May: final fellow group confirmed

When will I find out if I am accepted?

We will aim to confirm the offer by late April.

Are you only looking for tech and computer science geeks?

No, not at all! We love CS geeks but in order to solve high impact problems, we need teams with a broad set of skills. We want people from all kinds of backgrounds including sociology, economics, public policy, public health, geography, physics and chemistry. However, we do want you to have experience with programming, data analysis and a passion for making social impact. That means that applicants should have had some prior experience using a programming language (such as Python) to analyse data.

Is it a full-time programme and do I have to stay on-site?

Yes. And yes. This is an intense full-time programme. We achieve great things and create real value for our project partners, but it means we need full commitment from all team members. You will be able to travel in your free time and the university is located in a great location for exploring the UK.

Do I have to be a student to apply?

Not necessarily but this is designed for current students or recent graduates. If you have finished a degree (undergraduate, Masters, PhD) in the past couple of years, you should be ok to apply. Post-docs, as well as people in industry (recent graduates), and people in between undergraduate and graduate programmes are also welcome to apply. We need you to feel you can “blend in” as member of a team of enthusiastic and very capable students.

Do I have to be a UK citizen to apply?

No, but you may require a visa. We will advise of the process when accepted.

Are fellows paid and if so, how much?

For DSSGx UK, we expect it to be £4,000 for the 12 weeks of the 2022 programme. It is paid tax-free (although you will need to check your own local regulations) and we will advise of the details we require. Accommodation and travel to Coventry will also be provided.

What about housing?

DSSGx UK will arrange accommodation and will advise of the details on confirmation of your place. It will be within Coventry. We will advise of anything you may be required to bring with you.

Can I take time off during the summer for a conference, wedding etc…?

No. We can make some exceptions for up to 2 days off during the summer (for critical cases), but spending a week away from the work is not fair to the other fellows on your team. If you need to be away for a week during the summer, this may not be the summer for you to participate in DSSGx. In addition, everyone must be in attendance for the entire first week and last week of the fellowship. Your stipend may be affected by any absences.

Do fellows select their own projects?

Projects are selected in March/April. We cannot specify projects at the time of application. We will take into account interests when making the allocation, but you should be prepared to work on any topic (they will all have positive social impact).

You can see the projects from 2021 here. Projects will be in partnership with government and not-for-profit organisations and will be in areas of education, healthcare, energy, community development, disaster relief, public safety etc...

Will I get a paper published based on this work?

A lot of the project teams end up writing papers but that’s not the goal of the summer fellowship. We encourage people to do good work with real impact and the paper is often a by-product of that good work.

Question not answered?

If these FAQs have not answered your question, please email us at dssg@wbs.ac.uk