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Jack reflects on the Turing Enrichment Scheme

By Jack Foster

The Alan Turing Institute is the UK’s national AI institute, sitting at the intersection of industry, academia, and government. The Turing Enrichment Scheme is a fairly unique opportunity, where successful applicants are invited to join the institute for 6-9 months while studying for their PhDs.

The unique thing about the scheme is that, beyond working from the Turing offices at the British Library a couple days a week, there are no requirements or obligations placed upon its members. This has very much been my experience over the past 9 months. The aptly named enrichment scheme has been flexible and supportive, providing me with a mentor, a laptop, travel funding, opportunities to collaborate, and access to all the workshops and learning resources Turing has to offer.

Placing your PhD front and centre is the key idea of the scheme; they want to enrich your experience, not overload you with things you don’t have time for. Chiefly though, the enrichment scheme is a tool for networking. Joining alongside 50 or so other PhD students provides the opportunity to find others who can be current or future collaborators. I chose to keep my network at Turing fairly small, but those I did connect with I envision staying in touch with for the foreseeable future. Expertise at the Turing is broad, within its walls are experts in topics spanning theoretical aspects of machine learning right the way through to applications in environment, society, health, and government. I think this is the best thing about Turing, there is always someone who knows something – no matter the problem domain. I’ve found everyone at the institute to be unwaveringly friendly, and anyone and everyone will afford you a moment of their time if you reach out.

The enrichment scheme is what you make of it; it can be as large or as small a part of your PhD experience as you like, meaning it is a fantastic fit for almost every PhD student who has the geographic flexibility to spend a few days a week at Kings Cross.

Thank you to Jack for taking the time to share his experiences of this fantastic sounding opportunity.

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