We invite Turing researchers (Turing Fellows, Research Fellows, Doctoral student supervisors and others) and academics from our five founding universities (Cambridge, Edinburgh, Oxford, UCL and Warwick) to apply and join the Turing’s scientific programme on Defence and Security (sub-theme social data science, or data science applied to social science problems).

External collaborations

Applicants are encouraged to involve collaborators from universities other than the five founding universities, and also industrial collaborators.  If you are a researcher external to the Turing founding universities and are keen to work on a joint project, please visit the ‘People’ pages of our website for more information on our Fellows or contact your colleagues in one of the five founding universities to begin a discussion.  Alternatively, you can contact the Strategic Programme Director, Mark Briers, or the Programme Manager, Catherine Lawrence, for advice.

Projects will be funded through our programme on Defence and Security; a strategic partnership for The Alan Turing Institute with GCHQ and MOD (Dstl and JFC) on data science research.

Funding available

A total of £220k will be available, to be awarded for up to three projects. These should be short pilot/pump-priming projects, which can begin in October 2017 and will end in March 2018.

It is intended that these awards will act as a “stage gate”, with the potential for larger amounts of follow on funding available in 2018-2020 for projects which have deliverables with potential for high impact and benefits.

Research challenges in social data science

Social data science brings together scientists from computer science, political, economic, health, statistical, and social disciplines to study and apply methods, theories, and empirical principles of data in interpersonal, group, and policy contexts. It covers tools, techniques, and data solutions required for the study of complex social systems; in particular, the study of individuals and the observable data they produce in such systems. The purpose of this work is to gain an understanding of how data science can help better understand human behaviour.

This call for proposals is seeking submissions for projects in the following areas of interest within social data science, which have been selected as priority challenges through discussion with the defence and security strategic partners:

  1. attribution
  2. instability
  3. patterns
  4. language
  5. data synthesis


Principal Investigators (PIs) should be Turing researchers, or researchers affiliated with one of the five founding universities. Collaborators on projects are welcome from anywhere outside the Institute or the five founding universities.

How to Apply

Before applying, ensure you have read the Application Guidance Notes which contains important information about the priority challenges, application documents, assessment process, and deliverables. 

Applications must be submitted via the online portal. If you have not already done so, applicants must first register with the system and provide basic log-in details to create a profile. If you have any question concerning the application or the online system, please contact the Programme Manager, Catherine Lawrence.

Application guidance

Full details including further details of the priority challenges, application documents, assessment process, and deliverables, can be found in the Application Guidance Notes.

A frequently asked questions section will be created here and updated on an ongoing basis – if you have any questions which are not covered by the Guidance Notes or FAQs, please contact Catherine Lawrence.

Appointments for queries

For more detailed queries on the research elements, potential applicants can book a meeting or phone call with Turing and funding representatives on 8 August between 2.30pm and 5.30pm.  Representatives will be available for 25-minute appointments. To book your slot, please complete the form. In the ‘Your name’ box, please enter your name along with F2F for in person meeting, TC for telephone call or S for via skype.


For general queries about eligibility or administrative aspects, contact Catherine Lawrence.

For queries on the research challenges, please contact Dr Mark Briers.


Applications should be submitted by 31 August 16:00 (deadline was originally 23 August, and has been extended).