Congratulations to TRANSNET student researchers Joshua Nevin and Christopher Parsonson, both of whom have been successful in their applications to the highly competitive Turing PhD Enrichment Scheme.
The Turing Enrichment scheme offers students currently undertaking a PhD in the UK an opportunity to enhance and broaden their research project with a placement at the Alan Turing Institute for up to 12 months, providing access to the facilities and opportunities available at The Alan Turing Institute and its partners.
We are proud to report that Joshua Nevin, based at our Cambridge site, and Christopher Parsonson, from UCL, have been accepted onto the prestigious scheme. Josh begins his placement in the autumn and Chris starts his next January. They’ll both be continuing their PhDs alongside the scheme but working out of the Turing offices at the British Library in London. Find out more below!
Josh works on Bayesian approaches to physical layer problems in optical networks under the supervision of TRANSNET Co-I Professor Seb Savory. He hopes the Enrichment scheme will provide a fantastic opportunity to collaborate with specialists working at the forefront of research fields that he wouldn't normally have access to. Josh aims to develop his understanding and application of machine learning and Bayesian statistics whilst on the placement, enabling him to improve the quality of his research and discover creative approaches to solving problems in engineering and data science.
Josh was originally accepted onto the Enrichment scheme as part of the 2020/2021 cohort, but this was unfortunately cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. He successfully reapplied and will be joining Chris as part of the 2021/2022 group, which is larger this year to cope with higher demand from cancelled places and new recruits.
He has, however, been able to participate in ‘Engage@Turing', an alternative experience organised for the 2020/2021 offer holders that provided students with the opportunity to access training activities remotely and connect with one another and the wider Turing research network online. The Enrichment scheme will continue with virtual learning and networking this year, along with in-person delivery and collaboration where possible (and in line with government Covid-19 guidelines).
Christopher Parsonson studies the design, control, and optimisation of data centre network systems using artificial intelligence for his PhD, based at UCL, and supervised by TRANSNET Co-I Dr Georgios Zervas. Chris is looking forward to attending the range of workshops, seminars, and conferences offered by the scheme and experiencing the vibrant, interdisciplinary, and cognitively diverse environment at the Turing Institute. He plans to work with experts across a variety of disciplines and projects to share knowledge and exchange ideas that will challenge and extend his research beyond its current scope.
But that's not all...
Ahead of their Turing Enrichment placements, both Josh and Chris are completing technical internships at Ahren and InstaDeep, respectively.
Ahren Innovation Capital (Ahren) is a $250M fund with a remit to invest in early-stage, transformational companies at the cutting-edge of deep science and deep tech. It is backed by ten science partners that have created technologies with a total value in excess of $100BN. Josh is currently undertaking a month-long remote-based position with Ahren where he’s working directly with the investment team to source, evaluate and diligence AI/ML deal flow.
InstaDeep is a computer software start-up leading in automated decision-making AI products for enterprise. Chris will be working in their London HQ in Paddington for 6 months (July to December 2021) as a PhD Research Scientist Intern. He’ll be developing novel reinforcement learning (RL) and graph neural network (GNN) algorithms and architectures to improve the exploratory, generality, and scalability capabilities of these RL-GNN models in solving graph-based combinatorial optimisation problems. Chris is also currently involved in Conception X, a venture programme that helps PhD students launch deep tech startups, along with fellow TRANSNET students Zak Shabka and Robin Matzner.
What an exciting year for them both – many congratulations from the TRANSNET team and we look forward to hearing how everything goes!
Both Josh and Chris have been members of the TRANSNET Programme since 2019. They are funded by the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Integrated Photonic and Electronic Systems.
To find out more about the Turing Enrichment Scheme, take a look at their website: www.turing.ac.uk/work-turing/studentships/enrichment