Swansea University to train the next generation of data scientists

Swansea University will be joining Cardiff and Bristol Universities to form a new Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in data intensive science. The Centre is being created as part of a £10m UK-wide investment from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

The constant advancement of computer technology has had a profound impact on science and industry, making possible some of the most important discoveries in recent years.

Thanks to increasingly powerful technology, researchers can gather, store and utilise vast amounts of data- but to make sense of this data, many more experts are needed to ensure the UK takes full advantage. The Centres will address this need for skills.

Students will utilise sophisticated computational, statistical and programming techniques, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, to extract insights from huge datasets to make new discoveries.

Students enrolled into the CDT will embark on a four-year PhD designed to analyse data from astrophysics, accelerator science, nuclear and particle physics research. Each CDT student will benefit from data science-specific training and a six-month placement with an industrial or commercial partner organisation. 

Cardiff University’s Data Innovation Research Institute will lead the CDT, in collaboration with the University of Bristol and Swansea University.

Five students have just started in Swansea, under the supervision of researchers in Computer Science and Physics, as part of the Bristol, Cardiff and Swansea CDT consortium. A total of 15 students are supported across the three universities.

The CDT will also incorporate industrial partners and will offer comprehensive training in data intensive science through cutting edge research projects and a targeted academic training programme. This will be complemented by secondments to national and international partners.

In total eight new CDT’s have been created as part of the STFC’s £10m investment, training over 100 PhD students at 19 universities across the UK. The bulk of the funding comes from the £90m allocated for 1,000 new PhD places across all the UK’s Research Councils, announced in the 2017 Spring Budget as part of the National Productivity Investment Fund.

The eight new centres will be based at the University of Cambridge, Cardiff/Bristol/Swansea, Durham, Edinburgh/Glasgow/St Andrews, Liverpool/LIMU, Manchester/Lancaster/Sheffield, Southampton/Sussex/Portsmouth/Queen Mary/Open and UCL.

STFC’s Executive Director of Programmes Professor Grahame Blair said: “This investment will not only bring on the next generation of much-needed data scientists with the skills and knowledge to become leaders in the field, it will be crucial in ensuring the UK research sector and the UK economy remains competitive on the world stage.”

Professor Nuria Lorenzo-Dus, Dean of Postgraduate Research, Swansea University said: “This Centre for Doctoral Training in data intensive science epitomises what is so exciting about conducting postgraduate research in the UK: a unique synergy of state-of-the-art facilities to develop innovative research projects and a strong suite of (inter)national industrial placement opportunities and academic training programmes.

“Through the strong partnership between Swansea University and the Universities of Cardiff and Bristol this CDT will no doubt deliver our next generation of data scientist leaders”.