The Turing Initiative
Alan Turing’s code-breaking at Bletchley Park during the Second World War is estimated to have saved over 14 million lives, shortening the war in Europe by several years through cracking the German ‘Enigma’ cipher. As well as his work in cryptography, Turing's work has formed the basis of the ever-expanding field of artificial intelligence, and his theory of morphogenesis, the process by which biological patterns such as the stripes of a zebra arise, was considered groundbreaking work in mathematical biology in 1952. The following year, at the age of 41, Turing took his own life after being prosecuted for homosexual acts, still considered criminal in the UK at the time. Sixty years later, in 2013, he was posthumously pardoned by Queen Elizabeth II.
We can only see a short distance ahead, but we can see plenty there that needs to be done.
- Alan Turing
Turing had been an undergraduate Mathematics student at King’s, gaining his degree with first-class honours in 1934. A year later, on the strength of his mathematical dissertation, he was elected a Fellow of the College.
In 1936 Turing derived his single most important idea, 'On Computable Numbers', which gave birth to the idea of a computer. After the war, his highly original mathematical ideas and pioneering work in theoretical computer science continued. His 'Turing Test' examined the behaviour necessary for a machine to be considered intelligent, and was the foundation of what we now know as artificial intelligence.
The Alan Turing Initiative at King's pays homage to this profound thinker, whose pioneering ideas changed our world and continue to hold significant potential for our future. As part of the Initiative, we invite you to help us develop an ambitious new programme that will continue to transform our world, with a series of funding opportunities focusing on computer science, mathematics, biotechnology, and the history and politics of sexuality and gender.
What is the Initiative?
The Alan Turing Initiative will enable the creation of a vibrant cluster of expertise, attracting the brightest minds who will, through their discoveries and creativity, provide a lasting testament to the man and his work.
Through the Alan Turing Studentships, we hope to attract the most promising scholars from around the world who wish to delve deeper into their subjects, supported by leaders in the field. With the costs of higher education continuing to rise, the Studentships will make graduate education financially accessible to the very best candidates, giving them the means to achieve their full potential.
The Alan Turing MPhil Studentship
A gift of £27,000 will support one Alan Turing MPhil student, at the Home & EU rate.
A gift of £43,000 will support one Alan Turing MPhil student for three years, at the overseas student rate.
An endowment of £935,000 will support a perpetual sequence of Alan Turing MPhil Scholars.
The Alan Turing PhD Studentship
A gift of £66,000 will support one Alan Turing PhD Scholar for three years, at the Home & EU rate.
A gift of £126,000 will support one Alan Turing PhD Scholar for three years, at the overseas student rate.
An endowment of £856,000 will support a perpetual sequence of Alan Turing PhD Scholars.
Our aim is to create a strong and diverse community of experts at all levels, in the subjects related to Turing's research. As part of the Initiative, we wish to establish a series of new posts as outlined below.
The Turing Junior Research Fellow
The cost of a Junior Research Fellow to the College stands at £40,000 per year for a non-residential Fellow, and £45,000 for a Fellow living in College accommodation. As a result, one four-year term can be funded for an average of £170,000, or endowed in perpetuity for £1,269,000.
The Turing Teaching Officer
The cost of each CTO to the College stands at £72,500 per year. As a result, one four-year term can be funded for £295,000, or endowed in perpetuity for £2,164,000.
The Turing Fellow
A full Turing Fellowship can be endowed for £2 million. The Fellowship would be a permanent post rather than a four-year term, and could attract a leading mind in the fields of computer science, biotechnology, mathematics and mathematical biology, or the history and politics of gender and sexuality.
Enabling the Transfer of Ideas
It is anticipated that this vibrant new hub of activity around Turing’s life and work will be attractive to visiting experts, who we want to draw to King’s for valuable exchange of ideas and perspectives.
The Alan Turing Annual Lecture will attract a leading authority on the life of Alan Turing or one of the key disciplines on which his work has had greatest impact. This event will become a highlight in the intellectual and social calendar of the College, raising the profile of Turing and his legacy at King’s, and drawing together the academic community. Each lecture will be followed by a formal dinner in College to enable further discussion and exchange of ideas.
The Alan Turing Visiting Professorship will enable distinguished experts from overseas to spend between two weeks and one academic term in residence at King’s, during which they will deliver lectures and seminars or run a symposium. The opportunity to be fully involved in College life during this time will enable Visiting Professors to interact with Turing Scholars and Faculty staff, contributing to and supporting the vibrant community we have created.
The Alan Turing Art Installation will be a powerful and accessible way of encouraging dialogue and awareness. A new sculpture or art installation in the College grounds, open to all visitors, will commemorate Turing at King’s - the place that played a formative role in his extraordinary career.
If you would like further information about making a gift towards the Alan Turing Initiative, please contact the Director of Development Development, Lorraine Headen, or Senior Development Officer, Alice Bailey.