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New Turing Institute at London’s Knowledge Quarter announced by Chancellor

Headquarters of the £42 million Alan Turing Institute for Data Science will be at London’s new Knowledge Quarter – with 'spurs' around the country.

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The world-class research institute, dedicated to British computer pioneer and WW2 Enigma code-breaker Alan Turing, will work with universities across the country to focus on new ways of collecting, organising and analysing large sets of data – commonly known as big data.

The institute will be based at the British Library, a key part of the new Knowledge Quarter – a partnership of 35 academic, cultural, research, scientific and media organisations based in Kings Cross, Euston and Bloomsbury that will share ideas, research and innovation. Its members range from the British Museum and the University of London to the Wellcome Trust and the Guardian.

Announced at this year’s Budget, the Alan Turing Institute will benefit from a £42 million government investment over 5 years; strengthening Britain’s expertise in the analysis and application of big data – a rapidly moving, globally competitive area.

While headquartered in London, ‘spurs’ based in universities and partnerships with business will ensure the entire country benefits from the institute, including our great northern cities. Over 20 universities have applied to be part of the Institute so far and winners of the competition will be selected shortly.

The Chancellor George Osborne said:

Key to the government’s long-term economic plan is ensuring Britain remains at the forefront of scientific innovation.

That’s why I was delighted to announce the creation of the Alan Turing Institute, a world-class institution dedicated to the study of data science and big data, and why I’m pleased to confirm its home alongside other world-class institutions like the Crick Institute, the Wellcome Trust, and the British Library.

The institute will bring benefits to the whole country through partnerships with universities and businesses across Britain, including in our great northern cities, to better understand and exploit the amazing opportunities presented by big data.

It’s a fitting tribute to Alan Turing – the father of modern computer science and a national hero – and will ensure Britain continues to lead the whole world in this important field.

Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library and Chair of the Knowledge Quarter, said:

We are delighted that the British Library has been selected by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) as the location for the headquarters of the Alan Turing Institute.

The future of the British Library is increasingly digital and data-driven and our purposes are strongly aligned with those of the Alan Turing Institute.

This choice of location also allows the institute to benefit from the world-class physical and transport infrastructure of the Knowledge Quarter with its easy connectivity to other parts of the UK and Europe.

We look forward to working with the partners across the UK in making the Alan Turing Institute a new beacon of research excellence.

Professor Philip Nelson, Chief Executive of EPSRC said:

Big data has the potential to propel huge advances in areas as diverse as healthcare, manufacturing, aerospace and cyber security. Ensuring the UK leads the world in this exciting field is paramount.

The Alan Turing Institute will form an important part of the UK’s big data capability, complementing EPSRC’s significant portfolio of computer science, ICT and mathematics research and training.

The institute will be run by a joint venture partnership made up of the universities selected through the competition by the EPSRC, together with other funders which could include business and charities. These joint venture members will collaborate on big data research and develop networks across higher education institutes, business and the public sector to apply in practice what they learn.

The institute will help businesses to enhance their products and manufacturing processes, target their marketing better, and provide more efficient services. The Centre for Economics and Business Research estimates that the big data marketplace could benefit the UK economy by £216 billion and create 58,000 new jobs in the UK before 2017.

Published 4 December 2014