The economic data science research programme at The Alan Turing Institute (the Turing) invites proposals for research in economics and data science to improve understanding of how the economy works or contributes tools that can be used for that purpose. Awards of up to £150,000 are available for projects lasting 6-24 months.  The deadline for applications is Monday 09 April 2018; funded projects must start before 01 October 2018.

The aim of the economic data science research programme at the Turing is to make major advances in understanding how the economy works in its complexity and interconnectedness, and to use that insight to address economic challenges of national and international importance. This will be possible through using econometric and data science techniques to harness the scale and scope of economic data now available to analyse the economy with greater accuracy and granularity.

Collaboration opportunities

This call for proposals aims to catalyse research in economics and data science to advance the economic data science research programme. It is funded through the five-year strategic partnership between The Alan Turing Institute and HSBC. All applications will be shared with an HSBC Steering Committee made up of stakeholders from HSBC with interests and expertise in economic data science and data analytics. This Steering Committee is not part of the review panel that will assess applications, but will instead look for projects or research teams that HSBC might be interested in collaborating with in the future.

For the purpose of this call, The Alan Turing Institute is also collaborating with the Data Science Campus of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to make ONS data and resources available to researchers, subject to access and appropriate use requirements.  ONS is the UK’s largest independent producer of official statistics and the recognised national statistical institute of the UK. It is responsible for collecting data and publishing statistics related to the economy, population and society at national, regional and local levels. ONS uses data from surveys, the census, administrative and commercial sources for statistical and research purposes only. ONS produces official and research statistics to inform important decisions that affect us all and for the wider benefit of society and the economy.

Applicants will also have the opportunity to collaborate with the Research Engineering department at the Alan Turing Institute. The members of this group are experienced data science researchers who are committed to professional delivery of impactful research, rather than to personal research interests. They support the mission of the Institute by connecting pure research to applications, and by ensuring our research generates usable, sustainable tools.

Research proposals

Proposals are invited from research teams for small (≤£50,000) or medium scale (£50,000-£150,000) projects that lie at the boundary between economics and data science and combine expertise from those two fields. Proposals must be innovative in nature, fit under one or more of the three research themes outlined below, have potential for substantial impact and present good value for money.

The three research themes under which proposals are invited are as follows.

  • Theme 1: Economic activity over the business cycle
  • Theme 2: The changing nature of work
  • Theme 3: Machine learning for economic data

These themes are described in more detail in the Guidance for Applicants document provided below.

Eligibility criteria and funding available

All proposals must be led by one senior academic researcher with a strong track record of grant support and research outputs. Lead applicants must be either Turing Fellows, Turing Research Fellows, Turing Visiting Researchers or situated at one of the Turing’s university partners.  Additional researchers who are not directly involved with the Turing or its university partners, but who are based at a Higher Education Institution (HEI) or Independent Research Organisation (IRO) may participate but may not lead.

Awards may include:

  • Staff salaries, whether directly allocated or directly incurred (e.g. existing academic staff, research assistants or other research staff, technicians and other support staff). Please note that PhD studentships cannot be supported through this call.
  • Research consumables directly attributable to the project
  • Research equipment essential for the project
  • Travel and subsistence, and other meeting costs where relevant
  • Dissemination costs such as conference costs

Awards may not include indirect costs such as overheads.


All applications must be made online via the Turing’s Flexigrant portal:

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


For questions regarding the application process or other elements of the call, please contact Programme Manager Dr Mahlet Zimeta ([email protected]).