DIT sets aside £2m to fund crack data science policy squad

Department looks to bring in specialist team


Credit: DIT

By Sam Trendall

29 Oct 2019

The Department for International Trade is looking to hire an external team of data scientists to support a series of major projects that it hopes will help shape the work of its policymakers.

The DIT has issued a contract notice outlining its desire to bring in outside expertise to “work on complex data science problems… to deliver solutions that help inform DIT policymaking”. Although the department has an existing seven-strong team of data scientists, it believes there will be a number of projects over the next two years that will require a level of support it is not equipped to provide.

Precise details of these projects are currently scarce, and each will defined via an individual statement of work that will set the chosen supplier targets and outcomes to be delivered over a period of weeks or months. To fulfil these programmes of work, the DIT wishes to appoint a supplier to a two-year contract that will likely be worth about £2m.


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The department said: “There are a range of problems to be solved, including: automated processing of existing free trade agreements and machine learning models applied to global trade flows; and [running] short proofs-of-concept alongside more systematic development of tools or techniques that show promise, with a view to operationalise as soon as viable.”

Work will primarily take place at DIT headquarters in central London.

Bids for the contract are open until 5 November, after which the department expects to evaluate three potential suppliers. A contract is scheduled to begin on 9 December.

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