The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has appointed Cambridge University alumnus and former investment banker Howard Covington as chairman of the Alan Turing Institute.
The Turing Institute is located in London, and is a joint effort between the universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Oxford, Warwick and UCL, the EPSRC and the government.
It has government backing for five years of £42m, and additional investments of £5m from each of the universities.
The EPSRC said that Covington has excellent track records in business and mathematics. He is a trustee for the Science Museum, a fellow of the Institute of Physics and an honorary fellow of the Isaac Newton Institute.
"Howard Covington brings a wealth of talent and experience to the Alan Turing Institute and will help it to capitalise on its strong partnership base," said Professor Philip Nelson, EPSRC chief executive.
"The Institute is a symbol of joint investment in research for the future. It will draw on 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 Covington's stewardship."
Covington's mission is to keep the UK as a force in big data and other technologies, and his appointment has won support from the government.
"Howard proves an ideal fit as chairman of the Alan Turing Institute," said science and universities minister Jo Johnson.
"He brings to the table an extensive knowledge of business and finance that will be crucial to leading this exciting, multi-million pound project through its next stages to becoming a world-class centre for data science."
Covington said of his appointment: "To be chosen as chairman of 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."
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