The Office for National Statistics (ONS) and The Alan Turing Institute have formally established a working collaboration in the field of data science.

Institute Director Professor Andrew Blake and National Statistician John Pullinger signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the Turing headquarters in London today, signalling their shared commitment to creating global impact in data science through research, training and leadership.

Researchers from the ONS and the Institute will meet in 2017 to explore collaborative projects.

“Data science is a rapidly emerging discipline which brings together expertise from many different sectors, including business, government and academia,” says Professor Blake. “This collaboration between the Institute and the ONS brings together 2 national organisations committed to advancing data science for the public good, and we look forward to working together to shape the UK’s global leadership in this exciting area of research.”

“We share a desire to make the most of the opportunities that data science affords,” says National Statistician John Pullinger. “The new ONS Data Science Campus in Newport opens up many possibilities of working together with respected leaders in the field, such as The Alan Turing Institute, to develop research and innovation, and to improve and exchange knowledge and skills.”

John Pullinger and Cynthia Dwork from Microsoft Research will be delivering a free Turing Lecture event at the Institute this afternoon on “Statistics, decision-making and privacy”.

The lecture can be viewed live on The Alan Turing Institute website today from 1:30pm and a film will be made available after the event.

Background notes:

  1. Professor Andrew Blake is Director of The Alan Turing Institute. Prior to joining the Institute in October 2015, Professor Blake held the position of Microsoft Distinguished Scientist and Laboratory Director of Microsoft Research Cambridge, England. Before joining Microsoft Andrew trained in mathematics and electrical engineering in Cambridge, England, and studied for a doctorate in Artificial Intelligence in Edinburgh. He was an academic for 18 years, latterly on the faculty at Oxford University, where he was a pioneer in the development of the theory and algorithms that can make it possible for computers to behave as seeing machines.

  2. John Pullinger is the UK National Statistician and most recent Chair of the United Nations Statistical Commission. He has previously been President of the Royal Statistical Society and Chair of the Getstats campaign for statistical literacy. He has worked in statistical, research, policy and leadership roles in the UK government at the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Environment, and Office of Manpower Economics, as well as the UK Statistics Authority. He also spent 10 years leading information services at the UK House of Commons as Librarian of the House, and developing new services to enable the public to engage with Parliament.

  3. Photographs of Andrew Blake and John Pullinger signing a Memorandum of Understanding at The Alan Turing Institute headquarters are available on request.

Media contacts:

The Alan Turing Institute

Sophie McIvor, Head of Communications
Tel: 020 3862 3334 or 079 6147 9846

Office for National Statistics

Media Relations Office: 0845 6041858
Emergency on-call: 07867 906553

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