University of Exeter to lead consortium for new Dstl Defense Data Research Center

The establishment of the Center is expected to result in the creation of at least 5-8 new academic positions from September 2022, with further growth potential.

The University of Exeter (UoE) will lead the consortium on a new Defense Data Research Center (DDRC), which will focus on improving the use of data for artificial intelligence applications.

The new center – launched by the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) this week – is part of the UK government’s recently published Defense AI Strategy and New Defense AI Centre.

Awarded by competition and operating under SERAPIS, the DDRC comprises a consortium led by the University of Exeter, supported by the Universities of Liverpool and Surrey, and Digital Catapult.

Over the next three years, the consortium will bring together a strong mix of talent to advance Dstl’s technical and cultural capabilities in their use of data science and AI.

The Center will focus on issues related to the use of data for artificial intelligence applications, which can often be inaccessible or unusable in the raw; up to 80% of time can be spent getting data into a state where it can be used, and some projects never start at all due to insurmountable data issues.

The main task will be to investigate these issues in a defense context, such as logistics support, object tracking and data conflicts, in the hope that any solutions and mitigations developed by the Center could be applied elsewhere in the world. benefit the wider UK economy.

In leading the consortium, the University of Exeter will combine its expertise in business and digital strategy from the Initiative for the Digital Economy at Exeter (INDEX) with the deep data science skills of the Institute of Data Science and AI (IDSAI), to form an interdisciplinary center to advance the practice of data-driven research.

The establishment of the Center is expected to result in the creation of at least 5-8 new academic positions from September 2022, with further growth potential.

Professor Alan Brown, Director of DDRC at the University of Exeter, said: “This transdisciplinary center explicitly recognizes the importance of data and the urgent need for an interdisciplinary approach. This is an important award for the universities involved and we are delighted to host this prestigious centre. It is an important indication that Exeter is at the forefront of understanding digital transformation and its implications for key sectors of our society.

Glen Hart, Senior Principal Scientist at Dstl, said, “The DDRC is an exciting addition to the Defense AI Center. DDRC will help us overcome some of the barriers to using data and enable us to realize much of the hidden value of our data to better support UK defense and security. The DDRC is a unique capability in the UK academic landscape and we look forward to working closely with them.

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Sean N. Ayres