Invitation to quote: developing and piloting course materials for data science

Invitation to quote for development of course to cover an introduction to statistics or machine learning for data science.

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Interest in the use of computational methods to capture and analyse research problems pertaining to data is growing rapidly. The Carpentries is one of the leading international providers of training for researchers in basic computational skills for managing, visualising, analysing and storing research data in an open and reproducible way. We have been partnered with The Carpentries since 2012 to deliver Software and Data Carpentry training as well as to develop new curricula and materials. The SSI is currently supported by the Scottish Funding Council’s (SFC) Upskilling Fund to deliver a programme of data skills training in line with the SFC’s strategy for upskilling the Scottish workforce. We wish to develop additional courses on data and related skills for researchers and professionals across various domains and roles that are missing from the current Carpentries portfolio, using the The Carpentries existing lesson infrastructure and lesson design best practices. The contract for this work will be through the SSI lead partner, the University of Edinburgh.

Specification of work

We are inviting quotes for the provision of a course curriculum, learning goals and teaching materials (for Python and/or R) suitable for a one or two day course, and the delivery of up to two pilot workshops using these materials, on either of the following topics:

  1. A standalone statistics course focussing on a collection of basic and intermediate statistical skills. This module could be targeted to those working in, e.g. the public health field or veterinary science, but ideally would be of wider interest to data scientists across various areas needing state-of-the-art statistical and visualisation techniques.
  2. A standalone course on Machine Learning focussing on the basic skills required by data scientists for discovering patterns in data. These skills should be broadly applicable to a number of problems in data science and data mining, e.g. image and speech recognition and analysis, medical diagnostics, making predictions, etc.

The course can be new work or based on existing work which the supplier has the rights to use and extend. The supplier will be required to license all work supplied as part of this contract under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license, and is responsible for ensuring that they have the necessary rights and permissions to do so. Materials must be written in British English.

The course should teach open-source tools, follow The Carpentries approach to curriculum development detailed in The Carpentries Curriculum Development Handbook and use The Carpentries lesson template

The total funding available for the project to bid for is £12,500. This amount will be shared between successful bids - up to two bids will be funded. The award will be payable as a fee to the lead partner /contractor of the successful curriculum development teams; a single team can be distributed and assembled from members from different institutions but will be responsible for the distribution of funds within the team. We are inviting proposals of up to 1,000 words outlining a plan to deliver the outcomes below within the given budget and the track record in development and delivery of similar courses.  


The work will produce the following key deliverables/outcomes:

  • Production-level training material for a one or two day Carpentry-style course using the Carpentries lessons infrastructure (with versions for Python and/or R) with the assumption that prospective learners have previously attended a Data or Software Carpentry workshop or have a basic knowledge and experience of programming in Python/R (e.g. have experience using variables, lists, functions, and importing and using external libraries and have previously written at least basic code to accomplish a task).
  • Provide instructors for up to two pilot workshops (e.g. one for Python and one for R) to be run by the proposing team on mutually agreed dates for the audience primarily in Scotland (with wider UK and international participation allowed) to test the materials and gather initial feedback for the subsequent material refinement. Workshops can be delivered online or in-person. 
  • The training material will be submitted to the Carpentries Lab following the Lab’s incubation and graduation processes. Suggested improvements will be made to the material in order to make it an official training material recommended by The Carpentries for teaching in their international community.

Criteria for selection of supplier(s)

  • Track record in development and delivery of similar courses
  • Quality of overall proposal
  • Suitability of proposed training course to meet the requirements of selected audience
  • Applicability of proposed work to a wider range of fields
  • Ability to develop equivalent materials in both Python and R
  • Quality of proposed plan for piloting workshops 


  • 15 October 2020 - call for proposal opens
  • 30 November 2020 - deadline for proposals/call closes
  • By 22 December 2020 - notification of award
  • By 1 March 2021 - the course outline (including a set of episodes) and a set of key questions, learning outcomes and key points for each episode available in GitHub as part of the Carpentries Incubator
  • By 1 June 2021 - alpha version of the course ready to be piloted (i.e. the first draft of the course, including all the episodes with their key questions, learning outcomes, key points, the script, exercises and solutions ready)
  • By 1 October 2021 - up to two pilot workshops delivered (for example, one in Python and one in R), feedback collected and materials refined based on feedback and experience during pilots (effectively creating the beta version of materials) 
  • By 1 October 2021 - beta version of the course available and ready for further pilots and testing. Submit the materials for the Carpentries Lab review process
  • By 1 December 2021 - production-level material ready to be advertised and used by the international community, acknowledging the SSI and SFC funding

Information required

The proposals should include the following information (as per the quote template):

  • An outline of the proposed course, including high-level summary of modules/episodes
  • Which audience and fields is the proposed material suitable for?
  • Which programming language are the materials developed for?
  • Description and track record of core team members and their roles in the supply of this work
  • Timeline for delivery
  • Summary budget, including:
    • Amount of hours quoted for each part of the work and hourly rate
    • Any other costs needed for the development and delivery e.g. equipment/services/infrastructure (Zoom accounts, cloud infrastructure accounts, etc.)
    • Value Added Tax (VAT) should be shown separately, if applicable

If you cannot supply the exact service the SSI needs, you may suggest alternatives that meet the specification, whilst complying with any minimum standards and the primary outputs expected from equipment of this nature. Please clearly show the benefits of any such alternatives. We may also accept quotes to provide a subset of the deliverables (e.g. a course only in R or only in Python).

How to submit

Please fill in the quote template (download a copy) with your proposal and email it in PDF format to Giacomo Peru at by 30 November 2020.

Other information

You are invited by the University of Edinburgh to quote for the provision of as detailed above.  Your quotation must be received by the time and date specified in this document. It is the responsibility of all suppliers to ensure that their quotation response is received no later than the appointed time. The University of Edinburgh may undertake not to consider quotations received after that time.

The University of Edinburgh is not bound to accept the lowest priced or any quote and shall not be bound to accept the supplier as sole supplier. Prices quoted shall remain fixed for the duration of the contract. Value Added Tax (VAT) should be shown separately and the VAT registration number given, if applicable.

By providing us with a quotation you agree to be bound by the University of Edinburgh’s Equipment/Goods/IT Equipment/Services/Supply and Installation Terms and Conditions which will apply to any contract awarded to you after you have provided us with our quotation. This includes having any required insurance in place, and compliance with all relevant legislation.


Any questions about the process can be directed to:

Aleksandra Nenadic, Training Lead at the Software Sustainability Institute: 

Giacomo Peru, Project Officer at the Software Sustainability Institute: 

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