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Osborne aims to make UK a world leader in big data with Turing Institute

The institute was announced as part of today's Budget

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Chancellor George Osborne revealed in today's budget that the government will create a new big data institute in a bid to help the the UK become a world leader in the field.

The new facility, to be backed with £42 million of government money, will be named in honour of World War II code breaker Alan Turing.

In the penultimate budget before the general election, Osborne said: “We will found the Alan Turing Institute to ensure Britain leads the way again in the use of big data and algorithm research.

“I am determined that our country is going to out-compete, out-smart and out-do the rest of the world," he told MPs.

The new Turing Institute will be launched with five years of government support from a new £222 million funding package that is designed to help the UK exploit commercially scientific advances, according to The Times

The government will reportedly ask universities across the UK to bid to host the new facility, which will help develop applications that can help make sense of the vast amounts of data that businesses and individuals produce in today's digital age. 

Osborne also pledged to support those who are trying to commercialise graphene  the one atom thick material that has been hailed as the successor to silicon and could lead to faster computer chips.

However, with only a handful of graphene patents filed in the UK (54 compared to 2,204 in China and 1,754 in the US), it could be argued that this is too little too late.

Elsewhere, Osborne pledged to address the skills gaps in the UK by providing SMEs with enough funding to create 100,000 more apprenticeships.

Ahead of today’s Budget, the Treasury invited businesses, charities and members of the public to submit their policy proposals via email.

Last year, the technology industry was left disappointed by the Budget after Osborne failed to make any substantial sector-specific announcements. There was little in the budget speech this year to alter that feeling. The detailed documents, published  to accompany the budget, may though give the tech sector and tech professionals something to cheer.


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