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About DISCnet

DISCnet is an STFC Centre for Doctoral Training, providing a platform with which we  train new generations of post-graduate data intensive scientists – over 100 PhD students over five cohorts, and counting.

DISCnet is a government-backed collaboration between leading South East research universities; the University of Sussex, the Open University, and the Queen Mary University of London. We have connections with the universities of Portsmouth, Southampton and Hertfordshire. Our remit is to build working relationships between businesses and postgraduate student researchers.


The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) has awarded an ‘A’ rating to the DISCnet Centre for Doctoral Training.

Training the next generation of data science leaders

DISCnet capitalises on our existing long-term collaborative and business engagement experiences through the South East Physics Network, SEPnet. It exploits the established and close interdisciplinary links between six UK-leading universities with expertise in STFC science: the Universities of Southampton, Sussex, Portsmouth, Queen Mary London, Hertfordshire and the Open University.

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Innovative Training Programme 

Our students will be trained in the latest skills required for the rapidly growing data economy including: programming, big data handling, data analytics, and the latest statistical and machine learning techniques that underpin artificial intelligence. These skills will be honed on some of the most challenging big data science questions in particle physics and astrophysics.

Data is only useful if you know how to use it

By partnering with DISCnet, businesses and non-profit organisations have the opportunity to employ some of the UK's best trained data scientists on projects that matter to your business.

Advisory Board

The DISCnet Advisory Board is formed of industrial partners and interdisciplinary academic partnerships including DISCUS, the University of Sussex Department of Mathematics, and the University of Southampton School of Electronics & Computer Science.

Dr Natasha McCarthy

Royal Academy of Engineering, Lead the National Engineering Policy Centre

Dr Chris Cormack

Managing Director, QuantFoundry, particle physicist 

Dr Chris Gibson

Programme Manager, IBM Research Europe, computer scientist 

Professor Seb Hoeing 

Head of Astronomy, Southampton University,

Dr Colin Maulde

Operations Manager, Tessella, physicist

Dr Russell Johnson 

Head of Data Science, Sainsbury's Bank, astrophysicist

Regius Professor Andy Lawrence 

Royal Observatory Edinburgh, Director, ScotDIST

Dr Johnathan Leslie (Chair)

Director of Data Science, Pivigo, biologist 

Dr Christian Rossi 


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DISCnet Management Team

DISCnet is led by a management team of academics from the core partner universities.


Director of DISCnet

University of Sussex


Director of Training and Skills

Open University


Deputy Director, 

Director of Partnerships and Placements

University of Sussex


Deputy Director of Training and Skills

Queen Mary University of London


Director of Student Experience

Open University


Susanne Bell

Manager of DISCnet

University of Sussex

Institute Representatives

DISCnet's Institute Representatives help to maintain strong connections with their universities. 


University of Portsmouth


University of Southampton


University of Hertfordshire

Student Representatives


University of Sussex


University of Hertfordshire


QM University of London

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Open University

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