Data Study Groups

Man and woman sitting with laptop in front of blackboard

The Alan Turing Institute regularly organises Data Study Groups: week-long events bringing together some of the country’s greatest talent in data science, analytics, and mathematics to analyse real-world data science challenges.

Jump to: Introduction | Get involved – Researchers – Industry partners | Case studies | Next Data Study Group | Contact

What are Data Study Groups

Data Study Groups are driven by results, with participants creating meaningful solutions for partners – ranging from leading corporates, to charities and government – to build on. Participating researchers are drawn from top academic talent from the Institute’s five founding universities and the wider academic community.

Each Data Study Group is a week long and they take place several times per year.

“Data Study Groups are an excellent opportunity for companies – obtaining proof of concept for their challenges and connection with expert community – and for data scientists – to dive straight into amazing data sets without administrative burdens and the opportunity for future collaboration, connections and contacts.”

Sebastian Vollmer, Director of Data Study Groups

Get involved as a researcher

For researchers, the Data Study Group is an opportunity to put knowledge into practice, to go beyond their individual field of research to solve real world problems, and to learn more about the partner and to build up contacts between academia and industry.

Researchers are typically top PhD students and early career academics from statistics, computer science, engineering, mathematics, and computational social science.

Participating researchers include talent from across the UK and are recruited through regular open calls on the Institute’s website.



“The challenge was particularly interesting from a research point of view as there could be many different approaches to solving this problem. Therefore, the project drew a fantastic selection of candidates to our team from different fields.”

Chanuki Seresinhe, Turing Enrichment Year Doctoral Student

Read more about Chanuki’s experience participating in a Data Study Group as a researcher.

Register your interest in taking part in a Data Study Group

Get involved as a industry partner

For partners, the Institute’s Data Study Groups are a chance to have a multi-disciplinary range of researchers looking at a problem from a number of angles – using cutting edge tools and methodologies to partition the problem before coming together to design solutions.

Partners can bring back this new applied knowledge, and use it for other challenges the companies might face in the future.

Examples of the kinds of challenges companies have proposed for Data Study Groups include Syngenta’s data-driven benchmarking for the agricultural industry in developed and developing countries; Airbus’ growth of route networks in the Air Transport System; National Grid’s real-time balancing of electricity transmission and distribution networks; Samsung’s clustering of mobile game users and prediction of cluster transition; and Siemens’ reducing air pollution through improved traffic control.

Partners typically provide real-world datasets for researchers to work on.

“The Data Study Group week was one of the best experiences I’ve had working with external suppliers of any kind in my 8 years in the Ministry of Defence. A large team of very capable academics worked extremely hard on my problem and demonstrated multiple approaches to solve it. To have so many interesting approaches thoroughly explored in such a short time period is very impressive and incredibly useful to our organisation.”

Matt, a Dstl representative

If your company is interested in proposing a challenge for the Data Study Group, fill out this form.

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Case studies


Plates of foodOver the course of the Data Study Group, the team of researchers with expertise across mathematics, computer science and statistics, worked with CodeCheck’s dataset and developed an initial model that could be used to show specific carbon footprints for food products like pizza, cereals or juices.

Codecheck’s Head of Science and Scientific Product Innovation, Vanessa Dilg explains how it went



Boeing 787The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl)’s challenge for Turing researchers was to find a machine-learning solution that can help improve tools for understanding code quality. A direct benefit of this would be greater control of the growth of bugs in new big systems.

Read more on how this scientific challenge was tackled from Dstl’s representative, John



SateliteData Study Group researchers were challenged to develop an algorithm that would enable the company to predict demand and supply for its services within a short time horizon.

Find out how it went from Inmarsat’s Head of Data Science, Siddhartha Ghosh




Traffic on the road

Siemens challenged researchers to look at how digitally enabled infrastructure, supported by data and technology, can be used to optimise urban systems, in particular traffic management systems based on real-time vehicle emissions.

Read the blog by Siemens’ Director, Urban Development and Smart Cities, Julie Alexander, on an industry partner’s perspective of Data Study Groups


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Upcoming Data Study Groups

The next Data Study Group will be hosted by Accenture and Turing Alliance for Data Science and take place 16 – 20 April 2018.

Find out more about the challenges and apply now.

Data Study Groups take place regularly throughout the year. Complete our participant form to be contacted regarding future Data Study Group opportunities or email us to find out more.

Get in touch

If you would like more information about Data Study Groups, email us.

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