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PML selected by Turing Institute for new programme to tackle environmental issues using data science and AI

25 May 2022

The new expanded skills programme will involve ten UK organisations focused on solving a broad range of critical environmental and sustainability problems.

Phytoplankton bloom from space

Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) has been announced as one of ten environmental and sustainability charities and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) chosen to take part in The Alan Turing Institute’s first combined Turing Internship Network (TIN) and Data Study Group (DSG) programme. 
Demonstrating “the Turing’s continued commitment to tackling climate change and learning about its impact through data science and artificial intelligence (AI) research”, the programme will place PhD data science students within selected organisations to work on a series of data challenges.
The interns will use their research and technical skills to find new ways to approach the challenges, whilst also gaining extensive expertise in the topics. 
The PML project will use satellite imagery to establish coccolithophore plankton areas and link their development over time to system drivers to document changes to ocean ecology driven by climate change.
Other organisations participating in the programme include: Keep Wales Tidy and Keep Scotland Beautiful, Peak District National Park Authority, The Rivers Trust, Global Witness, John Muir Trust, National Oceanography Centre, Environmental Investigation Agency and Sustrans
Chief Scientist Professor Mark Girolami said:
“Convening data scientists and industry collaborators will harness our collaborative power to tackle a range of environmental problems. 
We’ve focused on environmental organisations because we’re committed to working towards solutions to some of the big climate-related challenges that we face globally. The combined TIN and DSG programme will offer some innovative data science approaches to tackling real-world problems”  

Applications for PhD students to take part are now open – to find out more and apply visit:
Dr Tim Smyth, PML’s Head of Science for Marine Biogeochemistry and Observations, said:
“We’re delighted to be selected for the new Turing programme and look forward to applying PML’s world-leading expertise in satellite observation and marine data science to the challenge set. This will be a valuable study into how climate change is affecting critical aspects of marine ecology”.
About the Alan Turing Institute
The Institute is named in honour of Alan Turing, whose pioneering work in theoretical and applied mathematics, engineering and computing is considered to have laid the foundations for modern-day data science and artificial intelligence. The Institute’s goals are to undertake world-class research in data science and artificial intelligence, apply its research to real-world problems, driving economic impact and societal good, lead the training of a new generation of scientists, and shape the public conversation around data and algorithms.

Main image credit: "Bloom in the Barents Sea". NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC. A natural-colour image of a large phytoplankton bloom in the Barents Sea.