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The Alan Turing Institute is formed as an independent private sector legal entity operating not-for-profit and as a charity. It is a joint venture consisting of a core group of founder universities: the University of Cambridge, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Oxford, University College London (UCL) and the University of Warwick selected on the basis of international peer review. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the primary funder of the institute, is also a member of the joint venture. The primary responsibility for establishing the Alan Turing Institute has been assigned to the EPSRC with continuing engagement in the shaping of the Institute from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Government Office for Science. The Chair of the Alan Turing Institute, appointed in June 2015, is Howard Covington; the Director, appointed in August 2015, is Andrew Blake; the CEO, appointed in October 2016 is Sir Alan Wilson.
Concurrently with the selection of founder universities, the EPSRC initiated a process to find a 'location partner'. The selected location is the British Library in London. This was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 4 December 2014 as a key part of the Knowledge Quarter. The Alan Turing Institute is located within the current British Library building and it is anticipated it will occupy new premises in a development planned on land between the Francis Crick Institute and the British Library.
The Alan Turing Institute is the indirect product of a letter from the Council for Science and Technology (CST) to the UK Prime Minister (7 June 2013), describing the "Age of Algorithms". The letter presents a case that "The Government, working with the universities and industry, should create a National Centre to promote advanced research and translational work in algorithms and the application of data science."
Funding for the creation of the Institute comes from £600m investment for the '8 Great Technologies', and specifically so-called 'big data', signalled by the UK Government It was announced by George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the 2014 UK Budget. The bulk of the investment in 'big data' has been directed to computational infrastructure. Of the remainder, £42m has been allocated to the Alan Turing Institute to cover the initial five-year period of operation. The five founder universities have each contributed £5m to the institute (a further £25m). Additional funding from industry, foundations and government bodies has already been indicated.
The Alan Turing Institute fits into a complex organisational landscape that includes the Open Data Institute, the Digital Catapult and infrastructure investments. The specific role of the Alan Turing Institute will be to provide the expertise and fundamental research into mathematics and algorithms needed to solve real world problems.
Theory and Algorithms in Data Science Seminar at the Alan Turing Institute