Emerging Technology Development Programme

Ten-week programme of bespoke, expert-level learning on emerging technologies, tailored to develop your existing skills.

Programme summary

The programme is for civil servants from technical backgrounds, who want to develop their skills in emerging technologies and help solve some of government’s most complex challenges.

Programme graduates will have the skills, knowledge and confidence to act as specialist emerging technologies advisors to their organisations and government.

The GDS Academy is partnering with world-leading academics and industry experts to deliver bespoke learning on topics including:

  • artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning
  • augmented and virtual reality
  • biotechnology
  • distributed ledger
  • geospatial technology
  • quantum computing

Expert learning tailored to your skills and knowledge

Your application materials and an interview will help us understand your skill levels and learning needs. Successful applicants will embark on a bespoke curriculum of learning.

Your learning may involve a combination of classroom teaching, one-to-one tutorials in person and online, and supervised project work. What learning you do and how you do it will depend on your:

  • existing skill set
  • work commitments
  • geographic location
  • prefered learning style
  • project opportunities in your organisation

You will work with your tutors to develop a schedule that is ambitious but manageable.

After the programme

You will remain in your existing post but will be put forward for opportunities to apply your new skills and knowledge in relevant projects.

You will also join a cross-government cohort of specialist advisors, which may be called on to work on projects using emerging technologies.

We hope that you will continue to develop your relationships with your tutors and form a supportive network with programme graduates.


Any civil servant can apply for a place on the programme, but you will need a high level of technical knowledge and experience.


Your programme of learning lasts a total of 10 weeks. This might be spread over several months, depending on your existing commitments and the learning plan we develop for you.


A place on the programme costs £5,000.

We will contact your organisation about payment, once your place on the programme is confirmed.

Your organisation is liable for any expenses you incur while attending the programme.

Topics and application dates

The topics for the first cohort were artificial intelligence and machine learning.

As a result of a planned programme review, dates for the next iteration of the programme are on hold. Please check back at a later date.


If you have any questions about the programme or application process, email:

Published 11 December 2018