Internship
The Alan Turing Institute – Gianluca Detommaso

The Alan Turing Institute, UK

Type of internship: 

12 month PhD Enrichment programme with The Alan Turing Institute

What did the programme involve? 

The placement was called Enrichment student PhD programme, a program for PhD students from several universities in UK that would relocate for one year at The Alan Turing Institute in London. The students would continue their own research, however they would have the possibility to interact with many academic fellows from different universities and with potential industrial partners. On top of this, students had the possibility to try to join some research project of interest initiated by the Institute. Several conferences, seminars and data study groups were furthermore proposed, with the possibility for the students to broaden their knowledge in data science related topics.

During this year, I mostly continued doing my own research. On top of that, I was able to interact with many fellows, which gave me the possibility to embark on a Turing-led project about the construction of a 3D printed bridge currently under development in Amsterdam. My supervisor and another collaborator of mine were also able to join the project.

Gianluca’s reflections on the experience:

During this year, I met a lot of different people, academics, PhD student. I could network a lot for future possibilities and I made several new friends. It has been a fun and constructive year. In addition, being away from a close supervision for one year helped strengthening my discipline and independence. I could broaden my horizons and I got closer to the machine learning community, learning that their research can be very similar to mine in terms of methodology, but the purpose and the point of view may change slightly. During this year, two of my research papers were submitted and accepted.

I would definitely recommend such an experience. It has been a fun year, rich of new possibilities. The Alan Turing Institute is also a good institution to have on a CV.

Comments from Gianluca’s supervisor: 

Gianluca has greatly benefitted from the enhancement year at the Turing Institute in London. The interaction during his time there has worked very well; instead of possibly meeting every week, we may have met slightly less frequently, but we spent more time together (than in usual weekly meetings).

The benefits from working in such an engaging, interdisciplinary, data-science focussed environment at the Turing Institute clearly outweighed any possible disadvantages due to us not being at the same location. In addition to Gianluca exchanging himself with other researchers at the Turing Institute and being able to go to seminars, workshops and other events there, we also got involved in a very interesting new project jointly with engineers and statisticians from other Turing partners, within the STEAM project, part of the data-centric engineering theme at the Turing Institute. This project is going to lead to future collaborations and is currently being written up for a paper in Nature Letters.

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Much has been achieved with this visit and more is expected to come from it. All in all, it has been a fruitful experience, and I’d be happy to recommend it to both students and supervisors.

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I would absolutely recommend such an experience...to get an understanding of how valuable mathematical research can be in such a diverse set of problem domains

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It was a great networking opportunity and a chance to experience what it would be like to work for Roche as a company.

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University of Oxford – Chris Dean

...this placement has built a long-lasting collaboration for me which I believe will be extremely useful if I pursue academia in the future

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Graz University of Technology, Austria – Seb Scott

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I highly recommend the internship to PhD students who are curious about research impact and policy and who are looking to gain work experience beyond academia and industry.

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