By the turn of 2025, the world is expected to need 2.5 million data science professionals to work with organizations and governments in a structured manner. They will help organizations achieve the capacity to do things correctly at the first attempt itself, and will also facilitate quicker and more accurate decision-making driven by data.
To make a move toward attaining this goal, the World Data Science Initiative (WDSI) has been set up. WDSI is working together with a number of technology schools and universities across the world, and the target is to have 250,000 talented data science professionals by the year 2022. In order to attain this goal, it will offer more than USD 300 million in grants for universities, which they can use to obtain accreditations for themselves and also assist their students in obtaining good certifications on the most advanced vendor-neutral standards in data science in the world.
The main goal of data science is to facilitate quicker and better decision-making by companies, driven by the power of data. These decisions can help them attain market leadership or survive the toughest crisis times. This is why there is huge demand for data scientists, and as per the US Emerging Jobs Report of 2017 by LinkedIn, there has been a more-than-650% growth in the number of data scientists since 2012. WDSI seeks to give a strong push to this growth, by offering data science research grants to institutions based in emerging and underdeveloped nations, so that they can reach the top standards in education in data science, and do it in an affordable manner.
The grants for universities will be used to cover certain costs incurred during the process of accreditation and when Centers of Excellence or Data Science Schools are set up. Specific cost categories covered include the following:
- Services related to obtaining global accreditation
- Procuring the requisite advanced resources – content, knowledge, and process – for learning and teaching at the Data Science Center of Excellence or the Data Science School
- Certifying students on knowledge standards that are future-ready and vendor-neutral, and applicable across platforms
Several categories of prospective beneficiaries can apply for the data science research grants from WDSI. These are listed below:
- Government or public colleges, institutions, and universities
- Private colleges, institutions or universities that have been duly recognized by their respective governments
- Consortia, project organizations, or special purpose vehicles working for data science and funded by charitable organizations and multilateral aid bodies
- Consortia, project organizations, or special purpose vehicles working for data science and funded by elected governments at the provincial or national levels
- Education projects in data science that have received funding or sponsorship from non-profit organizations that work in the areas of employability development and social upliftment through better opportunities for education and training
There is a detailed process for obtaining grants for universities. First, a special Initiative community individually assesses every request for a grant or subsidy for each applicant institution. The applicant is duly informed about the approval or rejection of its request.
Next, the set of approved applications is then taken up as subsidy cases for individual processing. WDSI gets in touch with external agencies to arrange the highest financial assistance that is possible for applicants.
Once the committee for applicant institutions gets in-principle confirmation of the availability of a grant, the institution is requested to send in a separate application for a subsidy, after which they must wait for a decision.
After the grant has been arranged, the amount and the subsidy are intimated to the applicant-institution. WDSI relevant offices and teams ensure coordination so that the process of awarding subsidies is completed properly. After this, the applicant institution can proceed to pay the reduced fee.