Turing, HSBC and ONS collaborate on economic data science awards

Friday 09 Mar 2018

The Turing’s economic data science research programme has announced a new collaboration between HSBC and the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The Turing-HSBC-ONS Economic Data Science Awards 2018 invite proposals for research in economic data science to improve our understanding of how the economy works.

The three main themes sought for proposals are economic activity over the business cycle, the future of work and machine learning for economic data. Awards of up to £150,000 are available for projects lasting 6-24 months with the deadline for applications on 09 April 2018; funded projects must start before 01 October 2018.

Economic data science is an emerging new field at the boundary of economics and data science that combines techniques from both disciplines to harness the scale and scope of economic data now available to us. It allows us to make major advances understanding how the economy works in its complexity and interconnectedness, and to use that insight to address economic challenges of national and international importance. And not only businesses and industries serve to benefit, but also governments and policymakers. A recent Financial Times article argues that ‘mining digital information for accurate, up-to-date economic snapshots could help officials make quicker and better decisions.’

As a part of building a multi-disciplinary research community, bringing together the best of academia and industry, applicants will have the opportunity of allowing their CVs to be shared with HSBC for future collaboration opportunities. An HSBC Steering Committee with significant interest and capability in economic data science and analytics, and convened by HSBC’s Group Chief Data Officer, Rakshit Kapoor, will review applications. Kapoor commented:

"As part of our five year partnership with The Alan Turing Institute, we are delighted to be an active partner in the Turing-HSBC-ONS Economic Data Science Awards 2018. These awards are a tremendous opportunity to strengthen the industry-academia talent pipeline and develop the next generation of data science leaders. Our steering committee will also review applications with a consideration to inviting researchers to run a second stage of their proposal with us, and we are excited by the opportunities this offers to collaborate and innovate."

In addition, ONS is providing datasets to researchers and an opportunity to collaborate with its staff on new research projects, as well as potential access to restricted ONS datasets. Louisa Nolan, Senior Data Scientist at ONS said:

"At ONS we have been identifying and investigating new data sources from both the public and private sector, such as administrative data, text and images. We are using data science techniques including machine learning and natural language processing to explore these to improve our statistics and help make better decisions. And so we are very excited to be working with the Turing Institute, collaborating with them at the cutting edge of data science."

Damien Smith, Economic Adviser in the Long Term Strategy Team at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), is a member of the independent expert panel reviewing applications for an Award. He added:

"In line with the Turing’s mission to apply data science to real world problems, the Panel will be looking for projects that can generate results in the first 6-9 months, and that combine world-leading science with the potential for high impact outside academia – for example, for policy or for business."


All applications must be made online via the Turing’s Flexigrant portal: https://ati.flexigrant.com (deadline 09 April 2018 at 9:00 BST)

For more information, including full eligibility criteria and details of the three research themes, please review the Guidance for Applicants document.

Media inquiries

Beth Wood
Press and Communications Manager
The Alan Turing Institute
[email protected] (0)20 3862 3390