Wednesday 11 November 2015 3:56 pm

Investing in data science will secure London's future as a global leader in research

The UK is a science powerhouse that punches well above its weight. London alone is home to four of the world’s top 30 universities. And this Government is committed to ensuring the UK is the best place in Europe to innovate, patent new ideas and start a business.

To fulfil this ambition, we need to harness the potential of new technologies. One of these is big data. From artificial intelligence to personalised medicine, we live in an "age of algorithms" that have the potential to transform our lives.

Today marks a major milestone in our country’s big data story: the launch of the Alan Turing Institute.

Named after one of the great pioneers of computer science, the institute will be a driving force for growth in our digital industries. The government is investing £42m to make it a reality, and with this support we are helping to unlock £25m from partner universities.

The Institute will draw on the expertise and resources of five world-leading universities in the field: UCL, Oxford, Cambridge, Warwick and Edinburgh. It will eventually employ 200 people and support a full supply chain of data science activity, from theoretical research to fully-fledged prototype products. Based in the St Pancras headquarters of the British Library, it will also have a partner with a rich history and track record of navigating vast datasets, such as the archive of the UK web domain.

So much of our modern world depends on digital information. Just think of the trillions of gigabytes of data that are said to be generated every year. Being able to interrogate this data will allow experts at the institute to spot trends and seize new business opportunities.

The institute is just the latest addition to Euston’s growing innovation cluster. The area is home to an impressive array of research assets, from the Crick Institute and the Wellcome Trust to the University of the Arts London. Collectively, 55 of these bodies have come together to form the Knowledge Quarter. This remarkable concentration of expertise is enabling London to attract investment from all round the world – investment from companies like Intel, which yesterday announced a strategic partnership with the Alan Turing Institute to shape the design of the next generation of microprocessors.

By investing in the extraordinary potential of data science, the government is helping to secure Turing’s legacy and ensure the UK leads the world in this important field.