The last decade has seen a dramatic rise in computer power, in data and scientific break-throughs, as in deep learning and neural networks. Together, these advances have led to the emergence of data science and the resurgence of artificial intelligence – ‘machines that think’, as imagined in Alan Turing’s landmark research paper published in 1950.
The Alan Turing Institute, headquartered in the British Library, London, was created as the national institute for data science in 2015. In 2017, as a result of a government recommendation, we added artificial intelligence to our remit.
The Institute is named in honour of Alan Turing (23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954), whose pioneering work in theoretical and applied mathematics, engineering and computing are considered to be the key disciplines comprising the fields of data science and artificial intelligence.
Five founding universities – Cambridge, Edinburgh, Oxford, UCL and Warwick – and the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council created The Alan Turing Institute in 2015.
Eight new universities – Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Queen Mary University of London, Birmingham, Exeter, Bristol, and Southampton – joined the Institute in 2018.
Since its inception the Institute has been funded through grants from Research Councils, university partners and from strategic and other partnerships.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, combined with the desire to move towards a new funding model, resulted in a reduction of the annual income from our university partners for the 2020/21 financial reporting period.
In June 2021 (see news story) the Institute was awarded £10 million new funding from EPSRC for 2021/22 to strategically invest in key areas as part of a shared vision for the future of AI and data science in the UK. The Institute continues to seek to secure long-term sustainable funding.
Find out how the Institute is governed in our annual report or download our PDF on ‘Growing the national institute for data science and artificial intelligence’.
We undertake research which tackles some of the biggest challenges in science, society and the economy.
We collaborate with universities, businesses and public and third sector organisations to apply this research to real-world problems, with lasting effects for science, the economy, and the world we live in.
We are here to help to make the UK the best place in the world for data science and AI research, collaboration, and business.
Our mission is to make great leaps in data science and artificial intelligence research in order to change the world for the better.
Research excellence is the foundation of the Institute: the sharpest minds from the data science community investigating the hardest questions. We work with integrity and dedication.
Our researchers collaborate across disciplines to generate impact, both through theoretical development and application to real-world problems. We are fuelled by the desire to innovate and add value.
We have three ambitious goals:
- Advance world-class research and apply it to real-world problems: innovate and develop world-class research in data science and artificial intelligence that supports next generation theoretical developments and is applied to real-world problems, generating the creation of new businesses, services, and jobs.
- Train the leaders of the future: train new generations of data science and AI leaders with the necessary breadth and depth of technical and ethical skills to match the UK’s growing industrial and societal needs.
- Lead the public conversation: through agenda-setting research, public engagement, and expert technical advice, drive new and innovative ideas which have a significant influence on industry, government, regulation, or societal views, or which have an impact on how data science and artificial intelligence research is undertaken.
Being a national institute enables us to deliver benefits that a single university could not deliver alone. We work across disciplines: at the Turing, computer scientists, engineers, statisticians, mathematicians, ethicists, scientists, and colleagues from the humanities work together under one shared goal, with no departmental boundaries.
We are a collaborative hub, with roots in universities and centres of research excellence across the UK, and strong links to a growing network of industry, public sector, and third sector partners.
Crucially, we are a convening power, bringing together the best talent in the data science and AI community to speak to industry, policy-makers, and the public.
While our early years have been focused on making the Turing a national success, we recognise that data has no boundaries, and engaging internationally will be critical to ensuring that the UK’s strengths in data and AI have global impact.
Looking ahead, we will develop a strategy for international engagement which supports our remit and goals and which champions UK talent on the global stage.
To find out more about the Turing, and the links between data science and artificial intelligence, visit our FAQ page.