Postgraduate conversion courses in data science and artificial intelligence

With the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, we are providing funding to deliver scholarships on postgraduate conversion courses in artificial intelligence (AI) and data science in England.

These scholarships aim to help address the shortage of AI and data specialists in the UK and increase diversity in the sector.

Latest scholarships

Up to £17 million will be made available to 31 higher education providers between April 2023 and March 2025 to support the delivery of scholarships worth £10,000 each.

In March 2023 we awarded higher education providers up to £8.17 million to deliver 817 scholarships in the 2023-24 academic year.

A further £8.18 million has been confirmed to deliver up to 818 additional scholarships in the 2024-25 academic year.

Find out more about the courses in AI and data science

Find out more about the funding

This funding has three main aims:

  • to respond to skills shortages by increasing the supply of digitally skilled workers
  • to increase the diversity of the UK AI and data science workforce
  • to increase industry support to diversify the UK AI and data science workforce.

Responding to skills shortages

According to the government's Digital Strategy, over 90 per cent of all jobs advertised in the UK now require digital skills.

The supply of skilled graduates would need to increase significantly to keep pace with current demand, and it is expected that demand will also increase rapidly in the next few years. 

A DCMS report found there were more than 110,000 AI and data science job vacancies in 2020.

Data from a survey conducted by the AI Council and The Alan Turing Institute showed 81 percent of those researching, developing, working with, or using AI technologies agreed there were significant barriers in recruiting and retaining top AI talent in their domain within the UK. 

Increasing diversity

The funding aims to increase the number of people from groups currently underrepresented in the AI and data science fields, and to encourage graduates from diverse backgrounds to consider a future in these occupations.

This lack of diversity was highlighted in the government's AI Sector Deal.

This acknowledges that increasing diversity in the AI workforce is vital to ensure that everyone with the potential to participate has the opportunity to do so. For example, women represent 49 per cent of the UK workforce, but hold less than 19 per cent of all available technology jobs.

These conversion courses will build on work already underway to diversify the sector.

In the video below, Isabel Chapman from TechMums talks about work they've been doing with FutureLearn, the University of Leeds and UKBlackTech to provide flexible learning and working environments for women to find employment in the digital industry.

Increasing industry support

Alongside the government funding for scholarships delivered by the OfS, businesses and industry partners are encouraged to co-invest in the future pipeline of AI talent by co-funding scholarships or providing other support as part of the programme.

The scholarship funding aims to support more people to build successful careers in AI, create and develop new and bigger businesses, and improve the diversity of this growing and innovative sector. Industry support will help to get more people into the AI and data science job market quicker and develop a sustainable talent pipeline.

Between May 2022 and May 2024 we commissioned Group GTI to act as the programme’s employer engagement partner to help employers partner with universities to co-fund scholarships for students.

Read our press releases

  • New analysis shows over 7,600 students have enrolled on AI and data science courses to tackle digital skills gaps
  • OfS confirms £8.1 million boost for postgraduate AI conversion courses as evaluation finds promising signs of increase in diversity of graduates

Your future in AI and data science

Information for students about applying for postgraduate conversion courses in artificial intelligence and data science.
Last updated 30 March 2023
30 March 2023
Information about latest scholarships
25 January 2023
Update - the funding competition has now closed.
23 September 2022
Figure corrected in 'Latest scholarships' information.
22 September 2022
Updated to reflect the latest funding opportunities.
13 June 2022
Additional scholarships announced, and link to the government's new digital strategy
09 April 2020
Added link to funded projects

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