School of Informatics

Alan Turing Institute and School of Informatics

Work is getting under way at the Alan Turing Institute, a UK research venture involving Edinburgh scientists from the School of Informatics.

The Alan Turing Institute has marked its first few days of operations with the announcement of its new director, the confirmation of £10 million of research funding from Lloyd’s Register Foundation, a research partnership with GCHQ, a collaboration with Cray Inc. and EPSRC, and its first research activities.

A joint venture agreement was entered into on 30 March 2015 between the founding partners, the universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Oxford, UCL, Warwick and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to create The Alan Turing Institute. The conditions to the joint venture agreement were satisfied on 22 July 2015, with the effect that the Institute is now fully constituted and has begun operations.  It will be headquartered at the British Library.

The Institute will promote the development and use of advanced mathematics, computer science, algorithms and big data for human benefit. 


The Institute has announced that it:

  • Has appointed Professor Andrew Blake, who will join the Institute in October, as its first Director;
  • Has accepted a formally approved offer of £10 million of research funding from the board of the Lloyd’s Register Foundation;
  • Will work with GCHQ on open access and commercial data-analysis methods;
  • Is to collaborate with Cray Inc. and EPSRC to exploit a next generation analytics capability on the UK’s Largest Supercomputer for scientific research, ARCHER;
  • Is issuing its first call for expressions of interest from research fellows;
  • Will commence research work this autumn with a series of data summits for commerce, industry and the physical and social sciences and scoping workshops for data and social scientists to inform and shape the Institute’s research agenda.

Director appointed

Professor Andrew Blake has been appointed director of the Institute, and takes up his post in October. Professor Blake is a graduate and former computer science researcher at Edinburgh.

He is currently a Microsoft Distinguished Scientist and Laboratory Director of Microsoft Research UK. Lloyd’s Register Foundation has become the Institute’s first strategic partner, with £10 million of research funding.

This grant will further the Institute’s core mission of data science research and facilitate research into engineering applications of big data, to enhance the safety of life and property at sea, on land and in the air. The research will aim to tackle some major global challenges including food, water and energy security, climate change, and pandemic disease.

School of Informatics

Scientists from the School of Informatics, along with Maths, EPCC, Engineering and Social & Political Sciences will have an active role within the Institute. Prof Steve Renals will lead involvement on behalf of the School of Informatics:

We are excited to be part of the Alan Turing Institute, the UK's national institute for data science. Data Science is concerned with efficiently finding patterns in the vast streams of data now generated by almost every activity in science, society, and commerce — ranging from molecular biology to social media, from sustainable energy to health care. This involves an interdisciplinary effort including machine learning, mathematics and statistics, databases, algorithms, and other disciplines such as natural language processing.

Prof Steve Renals

Ambitious targets

The Alan Turing Institute seeks to attract the best data scientists and mathematicians to break new boundaries in the use of big data. It is being funded over five years with £42 million from the UK government. The university partners are contributing £5 million each, totalling £25 million. In addition, the Institute will seek to partner with other business and government bodies.

The Alan Turing Institute has set off on a speedy course to secure new lasting partnerships and bring together expertise from across the UK that will help secure our place as a world leader in areas such as Big Data, computer science and advanced mathematics.

Jo JohnsonMinister for Universities and Science

More information can be found on the EPSRC website.