The Alan Turing Institute advances its strategic partnership with the UK Government defence and security community

In 2015 The Alan Turing Institute announced its agreement to collaborate with GCHQ and the wider UK defence and security community on data science research.

Following a year of knowledge exchange and scoping activities, the Institute has launched its partnership with GCHQ and embarked on strategic relationships with the Ministry of Defence and two associated departments: the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) and Joint Forces Command.

The partnership is interested in developing data science methodologies and techniques, and in the direct application of data science.  This is reflected in the initial areas of interest for the partnership that span creating intelligent data systems, securing cyber-space, enhancing data privacy and trust, and seeking a better understanding of the urban environment and its development.

Driving the research and collaboration will be Mark Briers, appointed as Strategic Programme Director for Defence and Security at The Alan Turing Institute.

Mark Briers, leading the Defence and Security programme at The Alan Turing Institute

Mark commented:

“The Alan Turing Institute will be collaborating with our defence and security partners to deliver an ambitious programme of research. The programme will solve challenges from social data science, cyber security and urban analytics, and will be underpinned by theoretical and methodological enhancements from across the data science technical spectrum.

Soon we will determine the set of problems the defence and security partnership aims to address, and this will drive the creation of research projects within the Institute and its partners. We will also be working in collaboration with the wider academic community, government and the defence and security industry to help to maximise the potential of this research programme and to develop the next generation of data science leaders.”

GCHQ’s Director General of Technology commented:

“Collaborating with leading experts from diverse academic and industrial backgrounds is the key to solving the difficult data science challenges that the UK’s defence and security agencies face.

The Defence and Security Research Programme at the Alan Turing Institute will play a key part in delivering the next generation of data science technologies based on advances in computer science, machine learning and mathematics.”

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Notes to Editors


Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is one of the three UK intelligence and security agencies. GCHQ works to protect the UK and its citizens from a range of threats to national security, including from terrorism, serious and organised crime and cyber attack. It also works to protect UK forces wherever they are deployed. The National Cyber Security Centre, as part of GCHQ, is the UK’s authority on cyber security. Further information about GCHQ can be found at

Ministry of Defence

We protect the security, independence and interests of our country at home and abroad. We work with our allies and partners whenever possible. Our aim is to ensure that the armed forces have the training, equipment and support necessary for their work, and that we keep within budget.


The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) maximises the impact of science and technology (S&T) for the defence and security of the UK, supplying sensitive and specialist S&T services for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and wider government.

Dstl is an Executive Agency of the MOD, run along commercial lines. It is one of the principal government organisations dedicated to S&T in the defence and security field, with three main sites at Porton Down, near Salisbury, Portsdown West, near Portsmouth, and Fort Halstead, near Sevenoaks.

Dstl works with a wide range of partners and suppliers in industry, in academia and overseas. Around 60% of MOD’s Science and Technology Programme is delivered by these external partners and suppliers.

Joint Forces Command

Joint Forces Command (JFC) was created in 2012 as the first wholly new 4* Command in the UK Armed Forces for decades. JFC directly employs more than 21,000 people, and provides the foundation and supporting framework for successful operations. JFC ensures that joint capabilities like medical services, training, intelligence, doctrine, information systems and cyber-operations are developed and managed. We also provide the command and control for overseas defence operations.