Get involved as a PI

As part of the Institute’s mission to train the next generation of data scientists, we are looking for talented early career researchers who want to act as a Principal Investigator (PI) on a DSG challenge


Data Study Group (DSG) are collaborative events bringing together skilled data scientists with Challenge Owners (CO) to tackle everyday business challenges. Principal Investigators (PI) are a dedicated resource to COs, working alongside them to determine the scope of the challenge, define the research questions, and understand the nature of the proposed data set to ensure it is ready for the DSG event. 

Current open opportunities: 

Plymouth Machine Laboratory - Identifying Global decadal shifts in coccolithophore bloom distribution
This project aims to use state-of-the-art machine learning techniques to analyse and detect temporal patterns of these plankton using a curated 40 year long time-series dataset.

The Rivers TrustEquipping communities with the skills to improve water quality
This project hopes to enable citizen scientists include a wide variety of sensor data that monitors water quality parameters such as temperature and salinity, as well as surveys recording wildlife sightings, pollution sources, problem plants, water quality, and flow conditions with accompanying photographs.

National Oceanography Trust - Towards a Deeper Understanding of Eddies using Machine Learning
This project aims to use state-of-the-art machine learning techniques on marine science satellite, remote sensing and robotic datasets to better understand, detect and track eddy currents.

Apply now

Who should apply?

An early career researcher, or post-doc, or in some cases an exceptionally good final year PhD student coupled with a more senior academic. This is aimed at researchers interested in industrial collaboration, who may not have had the opportunity to do this yet.

Your role?

To liaise with a Challenge Owner (research problem owner) to scope and prepare a challenge for the Data Study Group (DSG). To facilitate the research direction of the overall project. Ethics. To ensure the final report is of quality. Potential follow-on work.

What becoming a PI can offer you

  • Acquire/ develop project management skills
  • Fine-tune your ability to convert commercial ideas into research projects, and vice versa
  • Fine-tune your ability to generate multiple research projects from loosely defined questions
  • Explore interesting research areas that may be relevant to the challenge at hand
  • Find out how research areas can actually be used to generate real-world impact
  • Learn to work at the cross-section of industry and academia 
  • Grow their scientific and industrial network 
  • Learn to identify and shape collaborative opportunities
  • Help foster relationships between the Turing, your university and industry (these may develop into programme collaborations or even strategic partnerships)
  • Help shape and lead any potential follow-up projects (e.g., paper, internship, etc)


There are too many COs that need dedicated academic support to prepare their challenge for a DSG than what the DSG team core can provide. This is a good opportunity for training early career researchers in preparation for overseeing future projects, especially when working with industry. 


A PI will be sourced shortly after Turing partnership development confirms the project is nominally viable for a DSG project. This should have a minimum of two months of preparation time for the scoping and following the DSG event itself, two months for results preparation. 

You can also sign up to our DSG PI mailing list to be notified of our latest opportunities below. Please see more info in our resources section below.

Selection criteria

Will be based on your CV and cover letter for selection to interview.

The cover letter (up to two pages) should demonstrate your ability to suggest multiple potential methodological approaches to the challenge being applied for, as well as demonstrate:

  • Experience in applied data science
  • Willingness for multi-disciplinary collaborative work
  • Enthusiasm for working with industry, government and third sector to take their business problems and convert into data science research projects.

If you are not sure about if you have appropriate skills, do get in contact at [email protected]

The Alan Turing Institute is committed to creating an environment where diversity is valued and everyone is treated fairly.  In accordance with the Equality Act, we welcome applications from anyone who meets the specific criteria of the post regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy, religion or belief or sexual orientation. Reasonable adjustments are available to support candidates through the application and interview process.



You can download the full guide to being a DSG PI here. It includes detail on the lifecycle of a challenge, PI responsibilities, data suitability and more FAQs.



Daphne Ezer

“Being a DSG PI was a great experience, because it enabled me to partake in one of the most fun activities as a data scientist - serving as a translator between people of different disciplines and backgrounds.

Additionally, this experience has sparked future collaborations with DSTL.

I have two suggestions for future DSP PIs: Firstly, I think that it is very important to meet with the challenge owner one-on-one as early as possible before the DSG in order to help ‘translate’ their questions into the language of data science and help manage expectations.

Secondly, it is helpful to make sure that the data is in a format that would enable DSG participants to jump into data analysis straight away, instead of wasting precious time parsing strange data formats or reformatting tables.

Being a DSG PI is very rewarding, especially seeing all of the innovative ideas that DSG participants come up with!”

Daphne Ezer, Data Study Group PI, University of Warwick