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About DISCnet

DISCnet is an STFC Centre for Doctoral Training, providing a platform upon which we can train a new generation of post-graduate data intensive scientists – over 70 PhD students over four cohorts.
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DISCnet is a government-backed collaboration between the South East’s leading research universities; Southampton, Sussex, Portsmouth, Queen Mary University of London, and the Open University. 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 five UK-leading universities with expertise in STFC science: the Universities of Southampton, Sussex, Portsmouth, Queen Mary University of London, and Open University.

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.

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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 Data Intensive Science Centre at University of Sussex, ECS, The School of Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampon, and The Department of Mathematics at University of Sussex.

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

Director of Data Science, Pivigo, biologist 

Dr Christian Rossi 


Dr Thomas Babbedge (Chair)

Chief Scientist and Deputy Head of GreshamQuant, Gresham Investment Management, astrophysics

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DISCnet Management Team

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

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