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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S023569/1
Title: EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Computational Statistics and Data Science: COMPASS
Principal Investigator: Whiteley, Professor N
Other Investigators:
Andrieu, Professor C Wood, Professor SL Tilling, Professor K
Rougier, Professor JC Cho, Dr HH
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Adarga AWE CheckRisk LLP
EDF GCHQ GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK)
Office for National Statistics SCIEX Shell
Trainline UK Space Agency
Department: Mathematics
Organisation: University of Bristol
Scheme: Centre for Doctoral Training
Starts: 01 April 2019 Ends: 30 September 2027 Value (£): 6,742,203
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Statistics & Appl. Probability
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine Financial Services
Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology Energy
Transport Systems and Vehicles Education
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
07 Nov 2018 EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training Interview Panel E – November 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The COMPASS Centre for Doctoral Training will provide high-calibre cohort-based training for over 55 PhD students in computational statistics and data science. The current disruptive data revolution has revealed new ways of using data to enhance productivity and improve citizens' well-being, and created responsible, effective and transformative ideas that were undreamt of only a few years ago. It is no surprise that the revolution has not only created new classes of data-centred companies, but also whole new data science groupings in many existing organizations. Big and complex data are now ubiquitous and fundamental for research and development, including in our integrated CDT academic partner disciplines of economics, education, engineering, medicine, computer, geographical, earth and life sciences. Similarly, for our external partners: businesses such as Adarga, CheckRisk, EDF, GSK, SCIEX, Shell and Trainline; and crucial government agencies such as the Atomic Weapons Establishment, GCHQ, Office for National Statistics and the UK Space Agency.

Exploiting the full potential of big and complex data requires advanced statistical methods and computation working together, hence the need for computational statistics and data science. Bristol has long-established world-leading experience in computational statistics, a broad base of already engaged and co-creative statistical academic and dynamic external partners, excellent facilities, and extensive experience of running successful CDTs under the auspices of the Bristol Doctoral College.

The societal, scientific and economic value of unlocking the potential in data has spurred demand for people trained to PhD level in computational statistics and data science: demand dramatically exceeds supply, internationally and in the UK. A COMPASS PhD will be highly valued for its focus on advanced technical, interdisciplinary and professional training, at a time where there are a large and increasing numbers of appealing employment opportunities.

COMPASS will recruit the best students from numerate backgrounds and provide multimodal training within and across cohorts. This will include an assessed programme of taught coursework spanning a broad range of core and crossover statistical topics, reflecting strong historical and future links to our academic partner disciplines, such as causality in medical statistics, multilevel modelling in education or Bayesian modelling in genetics.

Modern statistical practice typically involves interdisciplinary teams. Cohort and cross-cohort activities are essential for modern doctoral training and permeate the design of COMPASS. We will adopt tried and trusted cohort training methods, such as group work, group and partner projects, Masterclasses, and innovative cross-cohort activities such as COMPASS policy workshops, statistical consultancy teams and rapid response teams (small teams, formed at short notice, with staff from partners, to address important and urgent problems in their business, a co-creation idea from the Office for National Statistics).

Our academic and external partners will be fully integrated in our training programme and its delivery and are committed to providing significant personnel and resources to support COMPASS throughout its eight-year life. Through alignment with the UK Academy of Postgraduate Training in Statistics, the University of Bristol's Jean Golding Institute for Data Intensive Research, the national Alan Turing Institute and the Heilbronn Institute for Mathematical Research Institute, COMPASS will provide a diverse, fulfilling and outstanding doctoral student experience.

COMPASS will be an attractive focal point for the best students, preparing them for rewarding, impactful careers, and enabling them to make crucial contributions to the health, productivity, connectivity and resilience of the UK and its citizens.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.bris.ac.uk