The University of Birmingham is set to join the Alan Turing Institute for data science in 2018

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The British Library-based organisation prides itself on its high research standards, and UoB will be one of the first eleven universities to join, alongside the likes of Cambridge and Oxford.

Using algorithm technology and inference, data scientists aim to resolve analytically complex problems by finding trends in raw data sets. From Spring, it is hoped that the university will be involved in research programmes with the Institute, which could include looking into the field of Artificial Intelligence.

The Institute, founded in 2015, is named after British mathematician Alan Turing, who is best known for helping to bring an end to World War II by cracking the Enigma code used by the German military. As of November 2016, the Alan Turing Institute has been the national centre for AI, adding to their other data science responsibilities, such as vital research into cyber security.

They also have a role in training the future generation of data scientists. Birmingham will, alongside the likes of Exeter, Leeds, and Queen Mary University of London, join the five founding universities of the organisation, which aims to ‘advance the world-changing potential of data science and artificial intelligence, strengthening a growing scientific and industry network for data and AI research in the UK’. The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Sir David Eastwood, added that he hopes ‘to make a significant contribution towards advancing the world-changing potential of data science’ as a member of the Alan Turing Institute.

This opportunity presents the university with the chance to work alongside other established universities in a similar way to the Russell Group. Each of the 24 Russell Group members has an average annual income of £688 million compared to a national average of £132 million for non-member universities, which is won to an extent through being given grants for competitively-won research.

As a member of the Russell Group, UoB has the advantage of being supported to maintain ‘the optimum conditions in which to flourish and continue to make social, economic and cultural impacts’, and thus can ensure more valuable funding for their research projects.

It seems, therefore, that being a member of the Russell Group can act as a catalyst to promote a higher standard of research and teaching, bringing with it more funding and better facilities. The university is optimistic that becoming a member of the still-growing Alan Turing Institute can have similarly positive implications.