• Nathaniel Byrne

Newsletter December 5th 2019


Professor Ganna Pogrebna will be standing down from the role of Turing University Lead with effect from 13 January 2020 and I would like to thank her for the excellent work she has done in establishing a strong link with the Turing Institute and the Turing@Birmingham initiative in the University.

The University is seeking to appoint a new Turing University Lead (TUL) with effect from 1 February 2020 (or as soon as possible thereafter). This role takes principal responsibility for our engagement with the Alan Turing Institute. At the same time the University proposes to establish a new cross-University Birmingham Institute for Interdisciplinary Data Sciences – a virtual institute in the first instance – which will build on the Turing@Birmingham initiative established by Professor Pogrebna. The newly appointed TUL will also be the first Director of this Institute, and will play a key role in driving forward the University’s data sciences strategy. This is a 0.6FTE post, which is formally a 0.4FTE secondment to the Alan Turing Institute, and 0.2 FTE for the Institute Director role, although in practice there will be a strong overlap between these two components. Please click on the link for more details if you are interested in applying for this Professorial level post:

Best wishes,

Professor Tim Softley FRS

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research & Knowledge Transfer)

Calls & Opportunities

Turing Artificial Intelligence World-Leading Researcher Fellowships

Outline proposals are now being invited for Turing AI World-Leading Researcher Fellowships.

This programme will invest in the recruitment of a small number of world-leading AI researchers, with significant packages of support to enable the building of centres of excellence in key areas of AI research. It will enable international leaders in addressing the methodological and theoretical challenges of AI to move to, or remain in, the UK whilst maintaining the momentum of their research programmes. Click here for full details.

The University will support two applications. The internal deadlines are as follows:

  • Candidates provide their proposals to the colleges by January 3rd, 2020

  • Colleges shortlist 3 candidates each by January 17th, 2020

  • Decision by the University committee is made by January 31st, 2020

HDR UK Turing PhD Programme

Applications are now open for the new PhD programme run by Health Data Research UK, in partnership with The Alan Turing Institute and funded by Wellcome.

This new four-year funded doctoral programme provides an in-depth training for graduates interested in bringing their numerical and computational skills to health data science.

Applications for the first cohort starting in October 2020 are open now.

This is an opportunity for students who want to make a difference. People who want to work together to combine statistics and computation skills within a health setting to overcome existing challenges and look to develop new opportunities.

You will develop your background in quantitative science (e.g. maths, statistics, physics, engineering, computing) and learn new skills within the health and biomedical communities, so that together you can undertake ground-breaking research.

For full details of eligibility, assessment criteria and how to apply, please visit the webpage.

Applications close Tuesday 7 January 2020 at 12.00 GMT

Call for pilot projects on AI for Molecular Biology

The Institute invites pilot projects from multidisciplinary teams of researchers working in partnership, to apply data science approaches to biology. As part of the Turing Institute’s Data Science for Science Programme, we are developing research around areas of key importance including molecular biology.

This research theme will develop the crucial role for Data science and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in answering many fundamental questions in genomics and biology regarding the structure and function of genomes, the molecular interplay within cells and organs, the role, shape and functions of proteins as well as advancing imaging techniques.

The call has five focus areas, namely:

  • Imaging

  • Genomics

  • Single-cell biological data

  • Protein shape and function

  • Molecular systems biology

Closing date for applications: 17 January 2020 via the Turing’s FlexiGrant portal.

PhD Enrichment scheme at The Alan Turing Institute

The Turing Enrichment scheme offers students enrolled on a doctoral programme at a UK university an opportunity to boost their research project with a placement at the Turing for up to 12 months.

Enrichment places are offered for 6, 9, or 12 months with start dates in October 2020 and January 2021 on a full or part time basis. Places are based at the Institute, headquarters at the British Library in London, where students will continue their PhD in conjunction with their current supervisor, while enriching their research and making new collaborations during their time at the Institute.

Enrichment students may be eligible for a stipend top up of up to £7,000 (exact maximum to be confirmed) and/or a travel allowance.

To find out if you are eligible and for details of how to apply please visit the website.

Applications should be made directly to the Turing by Tuesday 21 January 2020.

Turing ASG Digital Twins: Urban Analytics — Call for Proposals

The Urban Analytics programme has just launched a call for proposals for projects in the ASG Digital Twins: Urban Analytics theme. The Institute, via the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and in collaboration with a number of other research councils, has been awarded a £38.8 million research programme through UKRI’s Strategic Priorities Fund.

The research activities will support UK priority areas which are nested within existing Institute programmes and aims to deploy AI and data science through six themes:

  • Digital Twins: Urban Analytics underpinning the planning system;

  • Digital Twins: Complex Engineering Systems in industry;

  • Health: revolutionising health services through precision medicine;

  • Criminal Justice System, laying foundations for AI in government departments and agencies;

  • AI for Science: delivering AI into national labs;

  • Tools, Practices and Systems, bringing best practice into domain areas.

Themes, projects and associated programmes can be explored on the website.

Guidance notes and application details are available from Nathaniel Byrne at

The deadline is 24 January at 5 pm.

Call for reviews of literature

The Alan Turing Institute is seeking to commission literature reviews to inform future research directions. Each review should be up to 5,000 words in length and should summarise relevant academic and policy literature, identify knowledge gaps and highlight opportunities for future work. They should be written for an interested non-specialist audience and should set out the key questions in the field, the empirical challenges to answering these questions, the approaches existing work has taken, and the results found. The reviews should be international in scope.

The deadline for submitting interest is 15th December 2019, please email Nathaniel Byrne for more details.

Turing Save Haven Secure Compute Environment

Turing’s Safe Haven secure compute environment is currently available through the Alan Turing Institute. Check out the background information here  and a more in depth paper can be found via this arxiv link:

Events & Conferences


Tuesday 24 Mar 2020 - Wednesday 25 Mar 2020

Turing Presents: AI UK

Tickets are now available for the Alan Turing Institute's first major conference. For the first time a dynamic, two-day showcase will see the Turing bring together all three of these goals in an unrivalled showcase featuring the very best of UK academic work in AI and machine learning.

Turing Fellows are eligible for a 10% discount, please contact Nathaniel Byrne, for details.

Thursday 5 March 2020

European AI Policy Conference

Bringing together some of the leading voices in AI from across the continent to discuss why European success in AI is important, how the EU compares to other world leaders today, and what steps European policymakers should take to be more competitive in AI.

Upcoming Events

Friday 06 Dec 2019

Network Science in Financial Services

This workshop will showcase potential applicability of network analysis tools to problems of interest within the realm of finance and economics, discussing topics that include community detection and clustering, temporal multilayer networks, analysis of the interbank market, network models of systemic risk, portfolio construction, analysis of large-scale supply chains, and anomaly detection in transaction networks.

Monday 09 Dec 2019 - Friday 13 Dec 2019

Data Study Group - December 2019

The latest in Turing's intensive five day 'collaborative hackathons', hosted at the Institute, which bring together organisations from industry, government, and the third sector, with talented multi-disciplinary researchers from academia. Organisations act as Data Study Group 'Challenge Owners', providing real-world problems and datasets to be tackled by small groups of highly talented, carefully selected researchers. Researchers brainstorm and engineer data science solutions, presenting their work at the end of the week.

Monday 13 Jan 2020 - Tuesday 14 Jan 2020

Statistics and computation

This event will bring together experts to talk about advances at the intersection of statistics and computer science in machine learning. This two-day conference will focus on the underlying theory and the links with applications, and will feature 12 talks by leading international researchers.

Future Events

Monday 20 Jan 2020

Computational archival science (CAS) symposium Friday 24 Jan 2020

Reliability and reproducibility in computational science

Many events are recorded, find the archive on YouTube.

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