The Universities of Birmingham and Exeter are the latest higher education providers to join the Alan Turing Institute’s data science research network.

The universities will join Edinburgh, Oxford, Warwick, Leeds, Manchester and others in supporting the institute’s efforts to position the UK as a world leader in data science and artificial intelligence (AI) research.

The institute has selected Birmingham and Exeter to join its list of collaborators based on the data science and AI research both organisations have previously produced, along with their ability to recruit new researchers.

Both organisations will also contribute financially to the work of the institute, and are expected to formally join its network of collaborators in the spring. 

Alan Wilson, CEO of the Alan Turing Institute, said establishing the UK as a world leader in AI and data science research requires “the broadest possible collaboration” to occur in the education sector.

“I welcome our discussions with Birmingham and Exeter about joining the Turing network, and look forward to working with all our partners and the wider data science and AI community to advance research, innovation and impact in these important technologies,” he added.

The vice-chancellor of Birmingham University, David Eastwood, and the deputy vice-chancellor of Exeter University, Nick Talbot, said they are looking forward to the partnership and pushing the UK to be a front runner. 

The institute began in 2015 with the partnership of the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and five founding university members: Edinburgh, Oxford, Warwick, Cambridge and UCL.

Cambridge University’s co-chair of the Strategic Research Initiative in big data, Paul Alexander, welcomed the latest additions and underlined the importance of continued collaboration.

“The Alan Turing Institute has a critical role to play in driving data science and AI research in the UK. Essential to its success will be growing collaborations across the scientific landscape,” said Alexander.  

In the past several years, various organisations have supported the institute with funding. The government announced in March 2014 that it would grant £42m, with universities and science minister, David Willetts, saying this research will be crucial to the UK’s economic success.

“Creating a world-class institute dedicated to data science will secure the UK’s place as a global leader in this field and bring significant future benefits to the UK’s economy and society,” he said.

In December 2014, the Lloyd’s Register Foundation also agreed to fund the network with £10m to support the research on big data in engineering. … … … …



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