Winners of this year’s KE Awards, organised by PraxisAuril, were announced yesterday (Thursday 18 November 2021). The awards recognise achievements in knowledge exchange and celebrate the people who help to initiate and deliver impact from publicly funded research through a diverse range of partners and activities. 

We are delighted to report that The Alan Turing Institute’s Data Study Groups (DSG) was announced as the 2021 winner of the ‘Academic Engagement of the Year’ category. This category recognises initiatives which demonstrate innovative ways to drive awareness of and increase impactful KE activity with, and through, academic colleagues.  

Turing Data Study Groups (DSGs) are intensive five-day collaborative hackathons bringing together organisations from industry, government, and the third sector with talented multi-disciplinary research teams in data science, artificial intelligence (AI), and wider field. Organisations act as DSG ‘Challenge Owners’ (COs) who put forward real-world data science challenges to be tackled by small groups of researchers. 

First piloted in 2016, Turing DSGs have gone from strength to strength. Over five years, 13 DSG events have been delivered, with over 65 challenges from across industry, third sector and government partners and over 650 participants taking part. Participants benefit from experiential training through collaborating with researchers from diverse disciplines and institutions and by working on real-world data.  

The move to an online delivery model during the COVID-19 pandemic has also increased the flexibility and scale of delivery with academic and industry participants. The Turing’s university partners can also now run their own data study groups locally, with recent examples of this including events at the Universities of Bristol and Leeds. As one of the Turing’s mechanisms for regional engagement the programme is set to continue to expand its reach and increase the opportunities for researchers and challenge owners to engage with this activity. 

Ben MurtonBen Murton, Head of Skills at the Turing, who accepted the award on behalf of the team said: 

“The Turing is very proud to have won this KE award for Academic Engagement for the work of the Data Study Groups. As we look to the future, we want to make sure we build on this success to enable us to find new ways of building a two-way flow of talent between academia and industry. Driving knowledge exchange in data science and AI will open up opportunities for everyone, helping both researchers and companies to meet the real-world challenges that they face”.