Welcome to MBN Academy

MBN Academy is the part of the MBN Solutions business model dedicated to acting as ‘the bridge’ between academia and commercial organisations in the Technology, Digital and Data spaces. Recognising the need for a function of this type, we have developed strong relationships with a variety of Universities and Academic Institutions throughout the country.

We showcase careers within the markets that we operate in, act as a liaison partner to introduce other businesses into the academic space, develop Employability skills within student cohorts through our #MBNSkills program, and champion the success that collaborations of this type can bring in projects.

Following on from last year’s success of the MSc. Placement Project in collaboration with the Data Lab, their intake has increased from 90 funded places across 7 universities, to 130 places across 11. The Data Lab have appointed MBN Academy to deliver this project again for 2017/18. This development highlights the growing demand to deliver the best of the best data skills into private and public sector businesses throughout Scotland.

If you are interested in learning more about this project either as a Host Company, Student or Academic please see the FAQs below.


What was the Data Lab MSc. Placement Project?

The Data Lab is an innovation centre focused on helping Scottish industry to capitalise on a growing market opportunity in data science. Established with an £11.3 million grant from the Scottish Funding Council, The Data Lab enables industry, public sector and world-class university researchers to innovate and develop new data science capabilities in a collaborative environment. Its core mission is to generate significant economic, social and scientific value from data for Scotland. Data Lab funded 90 MSc Data students in 2016/17 and these students were offered the opportunity to undertake an Industrial Placement as part of their studies – 53% chose to take up that offer. The Data Lab MSc. Placement Project was about making this happen…

What was MBN Solutions role in the project?

The Data Lab published an open tender for the delivery of the Placement Project – MBN Solutions were the delivery partners chosen. This delivery consisted of 3 phases:

  • Skills/Employability Training to all Data Lab funded students on MSc. Data courses
  • Creation of Placement Opportunities
  • Matching and placement of students against these opportunities

How did MBN Solutions accomplish this?

Firstly, we delivered Employability training on CV writing, research techniques, Social Media networking and Interviewing skills at each participating University. We undertook a Marketing campaign that raised the profile of the Project, worked with individual interested companies and helped shape multiple placement opportunities throughout Scotland – with both private and public sector organisations. Finally, we assessed every individual student’s skills against opportunities, companies and sectors – and facilitated matching where appropriate (co- ordinated meetings, interviews, telephone dialogues, etc).


Project Title Examples

  • Natural language processing to extract molecular information for targeted cancer treatment (Health)
  • Inertial motion sensor movement classification using machine learning methods for the use of performance analysis of rugby union players (Sports)
  • Design and implement a deep neural network to automatically locate rooftops in high-resolution satellite imagery (GIS Consultancy)
  • Define the best next steps on how a content recommendations engine for a VOD player should function (Media)
  • Development of method and application to programmatically link spatial data (Public Sector)
  • Identifying and detecting data patterns that lead to equipment failure (Engineering)
  • Impact of current marketing initiatives via customer behaviour analysis and propensity modelling (Communications)
  • Developing predictive models using our large and diverse dataset of player behaviour (Gaming)
  • Connected Home Analytics (Utilities)
  • Quantifying the effect of behavioural biases in investment decisions (Financial Services)

Host Companies

Eventual Outcomes

MBN had 78 placement opportunities to share amongst 52 interested students. We are thrilled that 48 of those students began a placement in June 2017. Furthermore, we are aware that further employment opportunities have been created for a number of students to progress into on completion of their placement. We have conducted analysis around Scotland’s Data space including details of tools, technologies and skills both currently utilised and sought after which we have used to inform stakeholders in the Project. We are proud to have played our part in enabling a closer collaboration between all stake-holders in Scotland’s Data space (commerce and academia, public and private sector, etc).


“After having a slight knock to my confidence, Robin at MBN solutions assured me that there was nothing to worry about and got me back on track. From start to finish, the process of being allocated a placement was seamless, and the team were there every step of the way to offer help and guidance, as required. There is no doubt in my mind that having this opportunity has made my Master’s project much more enjoyable and has proven to have been beneficial in advancing my skill set and exploring new ideas in the world of Data Science. I cannot thank the team at MBN Solutions enough for everything that they did for me during the allocation of placements. Without their initial help, I would not have received the necessary boost needed to secure me the KTP Associate role at the University of Strathclyde in partnership with my host company, aggreko.”

Student, 2016/17 Data Lab MSc. Placement Project

“The Data Lab MSc projects are a stand out feature of our MSc programme. These projects provide the students with a unique opportunity to work with leading organisations in tackling data challenges that deliver tangible business results. The students gain detailed insights into the realities of working on data analytics roles and developing business critical skills, putting them in a strong position to move into the next stage of their careers. MBN Solutions have done an incredible job in enabling the entire process, from matching students with companies to providing essential career development advice throughout the year.”

University Course Leader, 2016/17 Data Lab MSc. Placement Project

“NHS National Services Scotland took on 4 MSc students from the Data Lab Data Science programme in May and all 4 students have successfully delivered projects and work to help the NHS understand our data better. The overall experience has been very positive and the students have made a big difference to us and the work that we do for the citizens of Scotland. Working with MBN Solutions has also been great and MBN have been supportive throughout. We are looking forward to another intake next year!”

Host Company Contact, 2016/17 Data Lab MSc. Placement Project

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