Howard Covington announced as Chair of The Alan Turing Institute

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Photo of Howard Covington

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) today announced the appointment of Howard Covington as the Chair of The Alan Turing Institute.

The Institute will build on the UK's existing academic strengths and help position the country as a world leader in the analysis and application of big data and algorithm research. Its headquarters will be based at the British Library at the centre of London's Knowledge Quarter.

Minister for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson said: Howard proves an ideal fit as Chair of The Alan Turing Institute. He brings to the table an extensive knowledge of business and finance that will be crucial to lead this exciting, multi-million pound project through its next stages to becoming a world-class centre for data science.

A joint venture between the universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Oxford, Warwick, UCL and EPSRC - The Alan Turing Institute will attract the best data scientists and mathematicians from the UK and across the globe to break new boundaries in how we use big data in a fast moving, competitive world.

The creation of the Institute is being coordinated by the EPSRC which invests in research and postgraduate training across the UK. The Institute is being funded over five years with £42 million from the UK government. The university partners are contributing £5 million each, totalling £25 million. In addition, the Institute will seek to partner with other business and government bodies.

Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC's Chief Executive said: Howard Covington brings a wealth of talent and experience to The Alan Turing Institute and will help it capitalise on its strong partnership base. The Institute is a symbol of joint investment in research for the future, it will draw on the best of the best academic talent in the country, and use the power of mathematics, statistics, and computer science to analyse Big Data in many ways. I am confident that it will prosper under Howard Covington's stewardship.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Covington said: To be chosen as Chair for The Alan Turing Institute is a great honour. The calibre of the university joint venture partners and the individuals involved will ensure that the Institute has a world class research team. The Institute will enhance the UK's already strong academic reputation and help keep UK plc at the forefront of developments in Big Data.

Mr Covington graduated with a double first from University of Cambridge. He has held a variety of positions, including in government service, investment banking and asset management.

During his distinguished career in finance he was a founding shareholder and chief executive of New Star Asset Management, which grew over a seven year period to a business with £20 billion under management and 400 employees.

Big Data is about gaining big value from extremely large and complex data sets. It revolutionises our ability to compare and cross-reference data in ways that were previously beyond the bounds of human or artificial computation.

Notes for Editors:

Howard Covington

During his distinguished career in finance he was a founding shareholder and chief executive of New Star Asset Management, which grew over a seven year period to a business with £20 billion under management and 400 employees.

Mr Covington is the first non-academic chairman of the management committee of the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences at Cambridge University, the UK's national research institute for mathematical sciences.

In 2010 Mr Covington was made a fellow of the Institute of Physics for his services to physics. He was made an honorary fellow of the Isaac Newton Institute in 2011 for his services to mathematical sciences.

Mr Covington is a trustee of ClientEarth, Europe's leading environmental law firm, and of the Science Museum Group.

The Alan Turing Institute will promote the development and use of advanced mathematics, computer science, algorithms and big data for human benefit. It will conduct first class research and development in an environment that brings together theory and practical application.

The Institute will be located in London and will bring together leaders in advanced mathematics and computing science from the five lead universities and other partners. Its work is expected to encompass a wide range of scientific disciplines and be relevant to a wide range of business sectors.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)

As the main funding agency for engineering and physical sciences research, our vision is for the UK to be the best place in the world to Research, Discover and Innovate.

By investing £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, we are building the knowledge and skills base needed to address the scientific and technological challenges facing the nation. Our portfolio covers a vast range of fields from healthcare technologies to structural engineering, manufacturing to mathematics, advanced materials to chemistry. The research we fund has impact across all sectors. It provides a platform for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture.

We work collectively with our partners and other Research Councils on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK.

Reference: PN 26-15

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Name: EPSRC Press Office
Telephone: 01793 444404