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Bradford has most applied AI and data analytics students in UK


Person holding mock-up of a typical bar chart data graph

Bradford has the most postgraduate enrolments in applied artificial intelligence and data analytics in the UK, according to new data.

The University has gone from having no postgrad enrolments in 2019/20 to 100 in 2020/21, and 285 in 2021/22.

It means the university now boasts the largest AI student population in the UK and is addressing digital skills gaps that will support the local, regional and national economy.

Such is the shortage of jobs in the data analytics and applied AI sector, students are often landing jobs before they graduate.

A student looks at a digital tickertape display in the School of Management

The figures, produced by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show the number of postgraduates taking up AI courses at higher education institutions across the UK, with Bradford now leading the pack.

The University of Bradford’s School of Management runs three full-time MSc programmes in Applied Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics (and two part-time courses) - all have been designed in response to a shortage of AI and data analytics specialists in the UK.

A number of £10,000 scholarships will be offered to full-time home/EU/international students attending the three-month placement version of this programme, as part of a £1.4m investment by Office for Students (OfS), Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Office for Artificial Intelligence and industry contributions.

Prof Zahir Irani

Deputy-Vice-Chancellor Professor Zahir Irani, who is the Institutional lead for AI and, was instrumental in securing external funding for the course development and student bursaries, said: “Artificial intelligence skills are in high demand, because the world we live in is more data-driven than ever before. There is a lack of experts in data science and AI and this lack of expertise means only a few companies are able to exploit the full potential of their data sets and transform the same into a competitive advantage.

“Our new MSc programmes have been designed in response to the shortage of AI and data analytics specialists in the UK. It will give students the skills and professional insight they need to launch a career in these diverse and fast-growing sectors.”

Students will have the opportunity to develop their intellectual skills further and increase their employability prospects through micro-badges available via SAS content and Amazon Web Services content. These are invaluable industry-recognised certifications that prepare students for more job responsibilities - they will open the doors to different employment options and students can use them anywhere in the world.

The School of Management, which this year celebrates its 60th anniversary is one of the best in the world and has triple accreditation (AMBA, EQUIS and AACSB). In 2021, the School of Management was also named Business School of the Year by the Times Higher Education supplement.

Case study #1

Graduate Anabel Colin

Anabel Colin, originally from Mexico City, studied a degree in IT before enrolling on the MSc in Applied AI and Data Analytics at Bradford. She is now on a six-month placement with Bradford Teaching Hospital Foundation Trust.

She said: “The Bradford course really stood out compared to many other courses, because it combined both the applied AI and data analytics. The course was well planned and well taught. There’s a huge demand for people with these skills at the moment.”

Case study #2

Graduate Sebastian Obeta

Bradford graduate Sebastian Obeta managed to land a job as a data analyst with Cambridge University before he even graduated.

Sebastian, originally from Nigeria, enrolled on the MSc applied AI and data analytics in 2021 and graduated in June 2022.

But he began working for Cambridge University in March and has now been there almost a year.

He said the Bradford applied AI course included several elements that helped him stand out from the crowd.

“I was drawn to the Bradford MSc in Applied AI and Data Analytics because it focuses on making cutting-edge AI applications with a strong understanding of the ethical, social, and corporate responsibility aspects of AI to promote safe AI. 

“Artificial intelligence applications are essential for having impact and autonomy, and the need for people with those skills is only going to increase. I looked at so many courses before choosing Bradford - I think their courses give a superb grounding.”