About the project

Funded by the ERASMUS+ programmes of the European Union, the Data Skills for International Development Careers project is a collaboration between Gazi Üniversitesi (Turkey), the University of Gloucestershire (UK), L-Università ta’ Malta (Malta) and Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED, Spain).

The project will develop new data skills instructor and student learning resources informed by insights from international development sector employers about workforce needs. The resources will be used to support  students studying social science related disciplines at partner universities to develop their data skills by completing ‘real life’ international development data projects in cross-country teams.

At the end of the project, open-access versions of the instructor and student learning resources will be available on this website for use by the wider social science higher education community.

Why is it important to develop data skills for the development sector amongst social science students?

Workers with data skills are needed across the breadth of employment sectors and development is one such sector which has become increasingly data driven.

Higher education students studying a range of social science subject areas often aspire to a career in development: a fiercely competitive and rapidly changing sector, with the need for both ‘soft’ (e.g. cross-cultural collaboration) and ‘hard’ skills now emphasised, of which data analysis is an increasingly valued ‘hard’ skill.

However, there is often resistance amongst social science students to develop data skills. Students’ resistance has been linked to a lack of confidence, but also a perceived lack of relevance to career ambitions.

This project aims to tackle these challenges by creating a team of partner universities to collaboratively develop learning and teaching materials which meet the current and anticipated future data skill requirements of development sector employers.

The learning and teaching resources developed through the project will closely align with the reality of working in the development sector, by exposing students to international collaboration and to working on real and pressing development issues, thus providing a clear link between the lecture hall and students’ desired careers.

Project objectives

The specific tasks of the project are to:

  1. Understand the nature of the current and anticipated future data skills deficit in the international development sector through expert interviews with key employers across partner countries.
  2. Develop innovative social science instructor and student learning resources on data skills for international development informed by the findings from objective (1), based on real life scenarios which foster international collaboration between students, and benefiting from the varied expertise of project partners. 
  3. Pilot and evaluate the resources during a collaborative summer programme for students from across partner countries culminating in a visit to Luxembourg encompassing a tour of EUROSTAT, the European Union’s statistical agency, and an opportunity for students to share project findings and gain experience of international meetings.
  4. Refine the materials based on student evaluations and tutor reflections and work towards integrating the materials and collaborative student project work into the degree curriculum of partner universities, as well as making the resources freely available online for the benefit of the wider social science higher education community.