University of Reading: Turing Network grant aids Reading data science and AI

The University of Reading has been awarded a Turing Network Development Award by the Turing Institute for the first time.

This success represents the first time that the University of Reading has won such an award. In total, 24 Universities across the UK have received an award.

The award, in collaboration with the Thames Valley AI Hub, led by Reading, will enable Reading to grow an engaged and diverse community, at all career stages, in data science and AI focusing on a number of priority areas.

The targeted areas include computer vision, environmental science, and in the creative arts which link to areas of expertise across the University including in Computer Science, Meteorology, and Film, Theatre and Television.

The award will support the organisation of a range of activities including sandpits and hackathon which will be open to the wider data science and AI innovation community, and to form new links and collaborations with the wider Turing network including in areas considered to be of strategic national importance not yet covered by the Institute. More widely, the Turing Institute recognise that the collaboration with Reading and other funded universities will continue to allow the Institute to grow into a national resource.

Professor James Ferryman, Turing Network Lead for Reading and Research Division Leader for the Department of Computer Science, said: “ I am thrilled that the University of Reading’s excellence in data science and AI has been recognised in this award. It will enable us to accelerate translation of our innovative data science and AI research into exciting new application domains and to establish strong links with the Turing Institute and its thriving network.”

As part of the award, the University will be attending the Alan Turing Institute AI UK Conference 22-23rd March, with a delegation of 10 people to include academics, businesses and others. The University’s Knowledge Transfer Centre will be allocating places in due course, with details available on their LinkedIn feed.

Sarah Werts, business relationship manager at the University of Reading Knowledge Transfer Centre, said: “The University’s ambition in data science and AI is reflected in the Thames Valley AI Hub, which has around 1,300 members, and the University’s internal AI Community of Practice, which has more than 100 members across several disciplines.

“The appetite and engagement shown by the membership and initial activities demonstrates the potential that a Turing Network award has in boosting collaboration and joint initiatives.”

Phil Newton, Research Dean for Environment at the University of Reading, said: “This is a highly influential award for the University. Data science and AI have the potential to drive breakthrough advances in a range of areas. One such area is in next-generation weather forecasting, and this award will enable collaboration in this area to accelerate, grow and prosper.”

The Alan Turing Institute is the UK’s national institute for data science and artificial intelligence.

The Institute is named in honour of Alan Turing, whose pioneering work in theoretical and applied mathematics, engineering and computing is considered to have laid the foundations for modern-day data science and artificial intelligence. The Institute’s goals are to undertake world-class research in data science and artificial intelligence, apply its research to real-world problems, driving economic impact and societal good, lead the training of a new generation of scientists, and shape the public conversation around data and algorithms.

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