Participate in a UoB Turing Data Study Group

Applications for the May 2022 Data Study Group are now open to researchers who would like the opportunity to gain experience in industrial data science challenges. The deadline for application submissions is 12 noon GMT on Monday 4 April 2022. Successful applicants will be notified of submission outcomes by Monday 18 April 2022.

The Data Study Group is formed of two stages: i) a precursor stage to introduce the challenges and to facilitate team building; ii) a week-long, in-person event stage during which participants will work intensively in teams on one of our challenges. Further details on both stages are provided below.

This DSG features two industry challenges, one from Siemens Mobility on Rolling Stock Brake Condition Assessment, the second from Rolls Royce on Casting the Future: understanding failure in turbine manufacture.

Please be aware that due to the nature of the technology addressed within the Rolls Royce project it has been determined that an export control rating of 9E003a1 applies. Under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) it is therefore a requirement of participants that they do not hold a nationality (single or dual) that is listed on the ITAR 126.1 list of proscribed nations. Please note, however, that the project is focussed on technology for civilian aircraft and does not involve military applications.

Challenge Title: Rolling Stock Brake Condition Assessment (Siemens Mobility)

Short Description: The braking system is an essential component of every type of rail vehicle, and has a major role in ensuring both the safety of passengers and the reliable operation of train services. As is the case in other modes of transport, the braking systems on rail vehicles are subject to strict safety requirements; meeting these requirements means that costly and time-consuming preventative maintenance activities must be performed regardless of the current vehicle state, and that the normal operation of the system must be regularly verified by the vehicle’s on-board computers using automatic brake testing procedures. Ultimately, vehicles with failed or poorly performing braking systems must be taken out of service until they can be inspected and any issues resolved; failed automatic brake tests can therefore cause the cancellation of train services and result in significant penalty charges to operators.

PI: Dr John Easton

Challenge Title: Casting the Future: understanding failure in turbine manufacture (Rolls Royce)

Short Description: The manufacture of turbine blades such that the whole blade is formed from a single crystal – that is, all its constituent atoms are organised neatly into a single crystalline lattice–is a state-of-the-art high value manufacturing process. Without single crystal components that operate in the very hottest parts of the engine it is impossible to manufacture the modern jet engine. Despite decades of advances, there remain significant challenge in identifying reasons for failure to reliably achieve this single crystalline lattice. Because of the actions of multiple mechanisms that result in formation and growth of secondary grains, the experiments required to separate them are too costly and too slow to perform in practice.  Despite a very advanced and tightly controlled manufacturing process, there are still many unidentified factors that may influence the outcome. The goal of this project is to determine these factors.

PI: Dr Kit Windows-Yule

Stage 1: The Precursor Stage (online and part-time, 3 to 6 May 2022)

  • The precursor stage will last one week in the run up to the 'event stage' (3–6 May). Maximum time commitment 3–4 hours a day.
  • Online workshops/ presentations/ team building in order to prepare for the 'event stage'.

Stage 2: The Event Stage (full-time, 9 to 13 May, 2022)

  • This in person event will take place at The University of Birmingham, in Birmingham, UK.
  • The 'event stage' will run over one week from Monday 9 – Friday 13 May).
  • We expect participants to spend around 9–10 hours per day on Tuesday, Wednesday  and Thursday  working on the challenges,  please note that it is not uncommon for participants to work 12 hours days during the week should they wish. The event will finish early/mid-afternoon on Friday 13 May.

Attendance is mandatory for the full duration of the week.

If COVID restrictions are re-imposed in the UK, it may be necessary to hold both the precursor and the event stages online. In this situation, the Event Stage will be held over two weeks from Monday 9 – Friday 20 May. Please note that this contingency measure is currently looking increasingly unlikely to be necessary and you should not apply unless you are able to commit to attending in person.

Applicants should be able to commit to the duration of the event. The Alan Turing Institute is committed to supporting individual circumstances, please do not hesitate to email to discuss any reasonable adjustments. 

How to apply

Applications must be submitted via Flexi-Grant. If you have not done so already, you will need to create a basic Flexi-Grant account. It is quick and free to register. Please be aware you will be required to activate your account via email. If you have any questions regarding the application form or using the online system please email

Further information

Access a blog post by The Alan Turing Institute on how to write a great Data Study Group application.

Learn more about Turing Data Study Groups.