Fellows will work in small teams on the following projects. Please read all the information below and select your project preference based on your skillset.  You can also learn more about these challenges at our information session. 

Please check the criteria for security requirements.

Department of Education Logo

Harnessing the potential of digital solutions in education

The challenge:

COVID-19 has highlighted the potential for digital, data and technology in education; not just to deliver the remote education that has been required during the pandemic, but how it can be used to improve outcomes as children return to school and college. While some schools and colleges were no strangers to digital tools and had embraced technology for some time, for many the past year has forced a step change which has been challenging. DfE must now enable all schools and colleges to take advantage of the opportunities that technology presents. Within DfE, the pandemic has highlighted where more can be done to harness the full potential of digital solutions. We are seeking Innovation Fellows to help us respond to this exciting challenge.

The Department for Education is responsible for children’s services and education in England. This includes early years, schools, higher and further education policy, apprenticeships and wider skills. Our vision is to provide world-class education, training and care for everyone, whatever their background. We aim to ensure that everyone has the chance to reach their potential in life, as well as creating a more productive economy for the future of our country.

Location: London or Manchester

Security clearance:  Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS)

The work of the Fellows will help us answer a range of questions, including:

  • How can we build a digital and data infrastructure to support a modern education system that benefits all?
  • How can we do this in a way that provides a simpler system for our users, that makes it easier and quicker for them to find and access information and support, whilst reducing workload and administrative burden?
  • How can we gather rich insights to better evaluate policies and interventions and support a more data driven approach to policy making and delivery?



DfE are seeking two Fellows:

  1. A Data Scientist with experience developing and using a range of data and analysis platforms to generate rich insight to inform departmental strategy and policy-making.
  2. A Product Manager, Service Designer or Systems Designer able to understand different needs across a complex ecosystem, and can generate creative and appropriate solutions to deliver outcomes.

We would like both of these roles to support strands of our work to enable a digitally mature education system. Particularly how we – being user focused – can improve the services that DfE offers and the engagement between us and the sector through those digital services, such as data collection and sharing, setting advice and guidance and enabling the sector to take advantage of the opportunities that digital presents for efficiencies and improving outcomes.  As well as having domain expertise, we are looking for individuals who are expert communicators who can get their ideas heard and translated to action.  We are looking for people who are able to work outwardly and draw on their own networks, for example, looking across the education sector, internationally or into academia to help us learn and have the biggest impact on outcomes.

Department of Health & Social Care

Designing high-impact data solutions in the fight against Covid-19 and beyond.

The Covid-19 pandemic has emphasised the value of UK health and care data and non-health data insights as a unique and precious resource. It is critical that we harness the potential of our data capabilities to: 

  • Accelerate the UK’s world-leading medical research and generate new, state-of-the-art treatments, diagnostics and health technologies with UK patients benefitting first.
  • Provide local and national decision-makers with the best analysis, assessment and advice relating to the state of the current COVID19 epidemic in the UK and overseas, and future challenges.
  • Make the UK a globally leading hub for life sciences and health tech to attract investment, create jobs, benefit the NHS and save lives.

To achieve this mission we must make high-quality UK health data and non-health data and insights available for research, innovation, and care, whilst maintaining the highest standards in privacy, security and public trust for the public, patients and the NHS.

We support ministers in leading the nation’s health and social care to help people live more independent, healthier lives for longer.

Location: London. Requests for remote working will also be considered, although some travel to London will be essential 

Security Clearance: Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS)

Fellows will be placed within NHSX’s Centre for Improving Data Collaboration (CIDC) and the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) and will focus on two core workstreams, with two Fellows per workstream:

Workstream 1: will focus on designing high-impact data solutions to unlock the potential of  health and care data. Fellows will be embedded within NHSX and lead work to design the data architecture and solutions needed to deliver the data assets underpinning our vision, focussing on priority use cases. The architecture, platforms and solutions designed must be future-proof, sustainable, and enable linkage of key datasets across NHS, social care and wider data sets, including those generated by citizens from non-healthcare sources. Fellows will deliver a range of options from a minimal viable solution to cutting-edge solutions at the frontier, which support the delivery of NHS Long Term Plan commitments.

Workstream 2: will look at new ways of integrating health and non-health insights into the JBC’s role of providing analysis, assessment and advice for decision-makers in response to the current COVID-19 outbreaks which are also fit for the future. Fellows will investigate user needs and ensure that JBC insights are accessible and digestible to a wide reaching user base – from across central government, Public Health England, local partners and by reaching across our strong academic and industry partnerships. Depending on their interests and expertise Fellows may find themselves working across epidemiological modelling, domestic and international data on prevalence, mobility data, contact tracing data, surveillance systems such as infection surveys and wastewater monitoring, symptom trackers and other sources. Outputs could range from digital products to help decision makers in real time, to creating a set of APIs to support cross agency analysis.


DHSC are looking to recruit experts in Data Science/Architecture AND experts in Product Management and Strategy.

Workstream 1: Fellows will have significant expertise in data science, data architecture, systems design and user-centred design. Knowledge and experience of life sciences, clinical trials, pharmaceuticals and genomics would be desirable. 

Workstream 2: Fellows will require skills and experience in digital strategy, organisational transformation, product management, and expertise in the areas of system interoperability, system architecture and data science. Fellows with backgrounds or domain expertise in epidemiology, public health, statistics and/or mathematical modelling are particularly encouraged to apply. 

Moj Logo

Rethinking how to track offenders in the community

Reoffending costs the UK taxpayer an estimated £18bn per year. Beyond the financial impact also lies hundreds of thousands of victims of crimes committed by repeat offenders. This project looks at how we can better harness the opportunities of the internet age when individuals are released from prison. In particular, we would now like to explore whether we can target probation service users themselves to have better contact with them in the community, and to provide them with the best possible opportunity to keep away from crime. This is supported by advances in wearables, 5G, and the fact that between 60% and 80% of people on probation have a smartphone in their pocket.

The Ministry of Justice is a major government department, at the heart of the justice system. We work to protect and advance the principles of justice. Our vision is to deliver a world-class justice system that works for everyone in society. Have a read of our digital and technology strategy and how we are connecting people in prisons through video calls. 

Location: London; Remote working will be an option, but with regular travel to London.

Security Clearance: Security Check 

Fellows will look at: 

  1. How can we use “nudge” techniques to help people on probation to avoid trouble, gain employment, get help with the right intervention for them, and stay in stable accommodation? 
  2. Could MoJ use technology to enable non-violent offenders on short offences to be released earlier, and to incentivise good behaviour in the community? 

Possible solutions that Fellows may work on could include: developing a secure location tracking app, light-weight and non-invasive wearables, and/or the use of push notifications to provide activity reminders.

MoJ are looking to recruit two Digital Product Fellows.

  • Development of geo-location based mobile applications. Preferably specifically designing applications that handle highly sensitive personal data with integration into a complex landscape of existing systems or databases.
  • Developing sustainable support models or integrating new services/technology/ways of working with established practices
  • Ability to empathise and champion the needs of a diverse range of users, balancing conflicting needs and striving to deliver change which improves the lives of those who most need help
Ministry of Defence Logo

Serious games: using deep reinforcement learning to support planning for military operations

The challenge:

Deep reinforcement learning (DRL) has demonstrated superhuman performance in complex games such as Go, DOTA and Starcraft and has shown its ability to innovate, discovering new strategies and moves that astonished human opponents. These developments have caused the UK, its allies and potential adversaries to consider how AI could be used to support military decision-making.  For example, the US DARPA is applying AI to tactical military scenarios and has developed an AI system that can beat a retired USAF pilot in an aerial dogfight. This challenge seeks to revolutionise military planning at the operational level by applying DRL to command virtual forces. The UK is committed to applying AI in an ethical manner to contribute to the security of the UK.

We work for a secure and prosperous United Kingdom with global reach and influence. We will protect our people, territories, values and interests at home and overseas, through strong armed forces and in partnership with allies, to ensure our security, support our national interests and safeguard our prosperity.

Location: Bristol or London (your choice)

Occasional travel will be required to Dstl sites at Porton Down (Salisbury) or Portsdown West (Portsmouth), to Defence Digital (Corsham), to stakeholders in Air Command (High Wycombe and Farnborough), Strategic Command (Northwood), MOD Head Office (London), and to industry partners.

Security Clearance: Security Check (SC)

Innovation Fellows will apply DRL to command a pre-built virtual adversary Integrated Air Defence System (IADS) – a networked system of RADARs, missile launchers and command and control capabilities that defends a large area of airspace against opposing aircraft. This virtual IADS under AI control would allow us to explore approaches to defeat that IADS and gain access to an adversary’s airspace. Fellows would also improve MoD and wider government’s DRL capability through upskilling senior leaders and developing a playbook on how to apply DRL to some of the challenges facing the UK.

MoD are seeking two fellows,

  • One Technical Artificial Intelligence (AI) Fellow – expertise of a range of AI techniques, including deep reinforcement learning, and experience of design and application of a breadth of AI problem formulation approaches. Expertise also desirable in partially observable reinforcement learning environments, multi-agent reinforcement learning, and learning from sparse rewards; and
  • Operationalising Artificial Intelligence (AI) Fellow- a systems thinker with expertise in taking AI systems from prototypes to successful operational systems, including their validation and ensuring fitness for purpose. Experience is also desirable in designing effective human-machine teams, building AI capability within an organisation, overcoming resistance to new systems, gaining senior management buy-in, and working with stakeholders to identify exploitation routes and challenges to taking solutions into the supplier base or into service.  No military or RAF knowledge is needed.
foreign commonwealth and development office logo

Unlocking the power of data to address humanitarian crises

How can FCDO leverage UK expertise in data and digital technology – particularly new opportunities provided by geospatial, earth observation and predictive analytics – to respond more rapidly and effectively to international humanitarian crises? Promoting science and digital technology to offer faster and cheaper delivery for crisis response is a priority for UK Official Development Assistance. 

Location: London, Remote working will be an option.  Some travel to FCDO’s offices in either London or East Kilbride is essential. 

Security clearance: Security Check (SC)

There are three specific data challenges which hamper global preparedness for crises (including natural disasters, and sudden and slow onset crises): 

  1. The ability to collate, combine, analyse and model a wide range of data sources (including satellite, drone, meteorological, epidemiological and infrastructure data) to create and maintain up-to-date maps in advance of a crisis occurring;
  2. The ability to identify the most appropriate data sources to inform operational decisions where multiple national and international data sources exist;
  3. The ability to access proprietary data such as satellite imagery and mobile data from before the crisis occurred and also where a slow-onset emergency is suspected – something not covered by the disasters charter.”

We pursue our national interests and project the UK as a force for good in the world. We promote the interests of British citizens, safeguard the UK’s security, defend our values, reduce poverty and tackle global challenges with our international partners.

Innovation Fellows will help to identify, develop and run sprints to test potential solutions, such as a data platform which is able to bring together a range of data sources with up-to-date satellite imagery. Fellows will develop solutions in line with best practice on user centred design to improve uptake and usability. They will also help to set out standards for gathering and sharing different types of data associated with a crisis. Finally, they will advocate for their solutions to be taken forward by others through engagement with the humanitarian sector, government partners and private actors such as mobile operators and technology companies. Innovation Fellows will report directly to FCDO’s Chief Scientific Adviser and work closely with colleagues in the Research and Evidence Division (RED) and the Conflict, Humanitarian and Security Department (CHASE).  

FCDO are seeking two fellows:

  1. A Senior Geospatial Data Scientist who has experience developing and using large scale data and analysis platforms, satellite imagery, and geospatial modelling. 
  2. A Strategic Engagement Manager, who understands user behaviour and needs of different stakeholders and is able to translate these into a clear vision for this work. 

Knowledge of the UN humanitarian system and development work is desirable for both fellows but not essential. 

Applications are now open and close on the 28th of March 2021.