Mark Girolami, Chief Scientist at the Turing

The Alan Turing Institute, following a comprehensive, competitive and open external recruitment process, is delighted to announce Professor Mark Girolami as its first Chief Scientist.

The appointment of Professor Girolami to this newly created role comes at a critical moment for UK science and technology, in particular, AI and data science, following the UK government’s first ever National AI Strategy launched just under a week ago with a new ten-year plan to make the UK a global AI superpower.

The Chief Scientist for the UK’s national institute for data science and AI will have responsibility for the creation and delivery of the Institute’s scientific and innovation strategy, as well as its approach to ethics and responsible innovation.

Professor Girolami is the Sir Kirby Laing Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Cambridge where he also holds the Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair in Data Centric Engineering (DCE). He is a globally renowned and inspirational research leader whose expertise uniquely spans the main data science and AI disciplines of computing science, statistical science, applied mathematics, and engineering. He has held senior academic professorial posts in some of the UK’s world leading universities, and in addition, he brings a wealth of industrial, business, and commercial experience having worked for a decade with IBM.

Sir Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Adviser, said:

“Warm congratulations to Mark Girolami for being appointed as the first Chief Scientist for The Alan Turing Institute at what is a pivotal moment for AI and data science in the UK. I have no doubt that the creation of this role will help ensure the Institute retains its position as the UK’s national centre for AI and data science and accelerate science and technology in this country. I look forward to continuing our work with the Turing and with Mark in his new role.” 

Since 2016 Professor Girolami has been Programme Director for DCE at the Turing where he has inspired and led the national and international teams pioneering the emerging DCE discipline that is transforming engineering science and its professional practice across all sectors. Under his leadership, DCE is becoming a global phenomenon, with the inaugural global DCEng Summit drawing international expert speakers from over 70 countries.

Richard Clegg, Chief Executive of Lloyd’s Register Foundation (the Turing’s DCE partner), said:

“Professor Mark Girolami’s appointment as The Alan Turing Institute’s first Chief Scientist is a pivotal moment.  Mark has played a key role supporting the Lloyd’s Register Foundation in growing the new discipline of Data Centric Engineering at the Turing and expanding it worldwide. The success of the programme is testament to both Mark’s undoubted technical excellence and his inclusive leadership style. Bringing these attributes to bear in his new Chief Scientist role will I’m sure help in taking the Institute to new heights.”

Reflecting on his appointment, Professor Girolami said:

“I am delighted to have this opportunity to become the Turing’s first Chief Scientist and, in this role, provide the required leadership to accomplish the Institute’s mission of making great leaps in data science and AI research and innovation in order to change the world for the better.  

“In setting the strategic direction for the Institute, we will provide a model of how safe and ethical data science and AI can build long term strengths and benefits for society and the economy, and support the UK’s needs and broader ambition to be a global leader in this space.  Linked to this will be our research approach to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) – a key part of the Turing’s new EDI strategy."

Professor Dame Lynn Gladden, Executive Chair, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, remarked:

“Congratulations to the Turing for appointing this pivotal position. Professor Girolami will further enable the Turing to play a key leadership role on the national and global stage, liaising with UK government and internationally as well as carrying forward his leading role in advancing the UK’s capability in digital twins.”  

The Chief Scientist will nurture new research and innovation strategies, encourage cross-disciplinary working within and without the Turing, ensure our research and innovation has global impact and that we are engaging with wider academic, government, commercial, business and industrial sectors. 

Baroness Nicola Blackwood, member of the Turing Board of Trustees, added:

“I am really delighted that Mark will be stepping into the pivotal role of Turing Chief Scientist. He has already made an important contribution to the Turing. Now, as Chief Scientist he will be at the heart of our ambition to realise the full potential of the Turing to underpin and accelerate growth and excellence in the UK’s AI and data science ecosystem. Mark’s significant leadership and research experience will be instrumental in this and in supporting the Institute’s wider scientific ambitions.” 

The Chief Scientist will form part of the senior leadership team at the Turing alongside the CCO and COO, and Professor Girolami will begin in his new post by the end of October 2021.  

Adrian Smith, Institute Director and Chief Executive of the Turing, concluded: 

“I am proud of what Mark has achieved through his time at the Turing and look forward to him taking up the mantle as a key public face of the Institute, promoting our excellent research nationally and internationally. This is a very positive appointment for the Turing, one that I feel strongly demonstrates the importance of the Turing as an integral and central part of the UK’s data science and AI environment. Mark will be an excellent advocate and ambassador for the Institute and the UK as he carries on his good work promoting the benefits of data science and AI for all.”