Champions Conference 2016

Cerys Manor
Cerys Manor, Conference Hotel, Brockenhurst, New Forest - UK

Call to action for Data Science educators:

“You are the pioneers, equipping the Data Science professionals of tomorrow with the skills that they need. We are here to help you, and showcase your pioneering activities.”

The EU-funded EDISON project, which is helping to address the urgent need to significantly increase the number of Data Science professionals in Europe, is organising a conference for the pioneers in education and training.

This 2-day event brings together around 40 of the leading providers of teaching and training for Data Science in Europe in order to capture best practice, identify challenges and opportunities ahead, and better understand the roles of the pioneers at the vanguard, and how EDISON can help them become Champions. 


Event goal:

The goal of this event is to mobilise the pioneers as Champions, a small but cohesive collection of trainers and educators who will extol the virtues and benefits of the EDISON framework in terms of helping them deliver data science education and contribute to the evolution of the EDISON framework.

This will result in the speeding up of the process to deliver new data science courses better aligned to the needs of employers in research infrastructures and elsewhere.

How to achieve this? We need to identify the multiplier effects that can be implemented by Champions to make this happen. These may be different in different countries and regions. 

We will want to identify individuals that are willing to take on the roles of Champions, followers and ambassadors in order to make things happen.


Target audience

•    Universities and training institutions planning new DS courses

•    Those running DS courses looking to scale up their courses

•    Those running DS courses seeking better alignment with industry needs

•    Those responsible for research programmes incorporating DS training

•    Policy makers responsible for the data science professionals of tomorrow




DAY 1: Wednesday 13 July 2016

08:50 – 09:15 – registration

09:15 – 10:00 – welcome and introduction to EDISON and the role of Champions

10:00 – 10:30 – keynote: International perspectives on the components of the data science skill set - Marcel Worring, full professor in data science for business analytics at the University of Amsterdam, and also associate director of Amsterdam Data Science.    

10:30 – 10:50 – coffee

Session 1: The EDISON Framework for Data Science

10:50 – 12:30 – The EDISON Framework and community portal: overview and update:

-    Competences Framework

-    Body of Knowledge

-    Inventory of Data Science courses

-    Model Curriculum

-    Community Portal

-    Liaison Groups, Champions and the EDISON Network

12:15 – 13:30 – lunch

13:30 –14:00 – Keynote: What are the challenges in delivering a syllabus that will enable business analysts, marketers, engineers, developers, economists, scientists, researchers, entrepreneurs and designers to master the tools of Data Science - Chris Phethean, of the University of Southampton and the European Data Science Academy EU project.

Session 2: The challenges of delivering data science education and training: Universities share experience and vision

14:00 – 15:15 Learning from the Champions: presentations from pioneering early adopters and internal project Champions will showcase how they have made use of EDISON outputs to date to accelerate and expand data science education in their universities and training centres.

15:15 – 15:35 – coffee break

15:40 – 16:40 – Presentations by Champions (continued)

16:40 – 17:00 – Review of the day: capturing the ideas and preliminary conclusions

20:00 – 22:00 – Dinner at the conference centre


DAY 2: Thursday 14 July

09:00 – 09:15 – Recap of day-1 and welcome back.

09:15 – 09:45 – keynote: Seizing the opportunity: recognising the urgency for expanding data science education - Edit Herczog (Vision and Values SPRL). Edit is a change leader and strategic advisor with Europe-wide experience in the public and private sectors and from across the geo-political landscape. 

Session 3: Looking to the future: Addressing challenges

09:45 – 10:45 – panel: Addressing the urgency in education: from primary level to post-graduate, followed by discussion.

10:45 – 11:05 – coffee/tea break

11:05 – 12:30 – panel: delivery mechanisms compared: MOOCS, online, summer schools and traditional channels compared. Followed by discussion.

12:30 – 13:30 – lunch

13:30 – 14:00 – keynote: research infrastructures and the need for data science professionals – John Wood (ACU). Professor John Wood CBE FREng is Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities and a founder member of the European Strategy Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI).

14:00 – 15:00 – Final discussion: outcomes, actions and future cooperation including plans for next workshops

15:00 – 15:20 – coffee and tea served


Venue: Careys Manor, Brockenhurst

The event will take place at the Careys Manor Conference Hotel in the New Forest, not far from the University of Southampton which is hosting this event on behalf of the EDISON project. Further details of the venue, including travel information, can be found on their website:

Careys Manor, Brockenhurst, New Forest, Hampshire, SO42 7RH

Shuttles to and from the airport and train stations will be arranged closer to the time. 


Conference outputs:

1.    Agreement on formal role(s) for champions

2.    Agreement on first cohort

3.    List of potential future champions

4.    Future events for Champions

5.    Actions and activities for champions

6.    Actions and activities for EDISON in supporting champions


The following input documents will be made available before the event (note: see Library section of website for current versions):

•    EDISON Competence Framework for Data Science (CF-DS)

•    EDISON Body of Knowledge for Data Science (DS-BoK)

•    The EDISON model for Data Science Champions in education and training

•    Biographies of the event contributors

•    List of event participants

•    Overview of the EDISON project

•    Draft Terms of Reference and Memorandum of Cooperation documents


Admission: how to apply

We want to bring together those passionate about the goal of helping to create the Data Science (DS) professionals of tomorrow. This will include representatives from our first batch of Champions and other early adopters of the EDISON Framework. We are therefore issuing an open call for those interested in applying to attend the conference.

If you are interested in attending and contributing, please email your answers to the following questions.


Applications will be reviewed starting from the 1st May and places assigned on a first come, first served basis:

1.    Your name and role within your institution

2.    Name of contact within your institution if not you

3.    Your institution and department/school/faculty (and country)

4.    Your reason for applying

5.    Full title and url of your current DS offering (including student numbers)

6.    Details of any planned DS offerings (including anticipated numbers)

7.    Are you interested in becoming an EDISON Champion?

8.    Are you able to fund your own travel to the event? (This is not a condition for invitation; unfortunately we cannot fund everybody’s travel costs)

Please email answers to event coordinator Steve Brewer: 


EDISON: building the Data Science profession

Further details of the EDISON project can be found on the project website: