Rackspace, one of the leading providers of hybrid clouds, yesterday announced the launch of a summer school programme to train PhD students in using big data technologies. The programme – dubbed Science to Data Science (S2DS) — will be organised in partnership with KPMG, Hortonworks, Royal Mail, and Importio, among others.

As the name of the programme suggests, students with a background in the natural sciences (physics, astronomy, chemistry) as well as those who have experience with mathematics and computer science, are eligible for the course. The programme is designed to run for a 5-week period, where 85 students from 24 different countries will learn how data science is practiced in companies today.

“Right now, anyone with an analytics background and a PHD has a golden future as a data scientist,” said Nigel Beighton, VP Technology at Rackspace.

“We have first-hand experience of the struggle to find these skills – from our own search for this talent and from what our customers are telling us – and the 1000% increase being reported shows that we are not alone. …we are very confident that the graduating students will be equipped with skills the industry is looking for.”

The S2DS programme is the “brainchild” of Dr Kim Nilsson, as Business-cloud describe. Having completed his PhD and two post doctorates, Dr. Nilsson found the transition from academia to business difficult, and resultantly co-founded Pivigo – an initiative to help PhD students fill the shortage of data scientists in Europe.

This will be KPMG’s second partnership in the space of a month to help train new data scientists. In July, the company said it would invest £20 million to open “KPMG Centre for Advanced Business Analytics” at Imperial College London, and as one report highlights, the company has made other significant efforts towards becoming a leading company for data and analytics – last year, the company launched KPMG Capital*, a global investment fund that invests predominantly in data & analytics businesses. They also help nurture new businesses in the sector with their Data Innovation Network.

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(Image Credit: Ian Barbour)

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