Exciting new project uses AI to tackle litter

Working in partnership with Keep Scotland Beautiful, we have been chosen take part in The Alan Turing Institute’s first combined Turing Internship Network (TIN) and Data Study Group (DSG) programme.

We hope to understand if artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to analyse images of litter and improve data collection during litter surveys. We will also investigate how data science can enable local authorities to better understand litter patterns in public spaces.

The programme will place a PhD data science researcher within our organisations to work on the data challenge. The intern will use their research and technical skills to find new ways to approach the challenge, whilst also gaining extensive expertise in the topics.

We’re delighted to be collaborating with Keep Scotland Beautiful on this exciting project and would like to thank The Turing for their support. AI could provide significant benefits and opportunities for our research activities, but there is a great deal that is under investigated and under explored. We’re looking forward to working with some of the world's leading experts to better understand how AI could help us tackle litter in the future.

Lesley Jones
Chief Executive of Keep Wales Tidy

This exciting collaboration with our partners at Keep Wales Tidy comes at an incredibly important time. Not least as we know that 88% of Scots agree that litter is a problem across Scotland and our data shows the issues are getting worse – with a 111% increase over the last decade in significantly littered sites. We are delighted that our project has been selected by the Alan Turing Institute to investigate how AI can help improve how we gather data, conduct research and target future interventions to tackle litter and change behaviours.

Catherine Gee
Deputy Chief Executive Keep Scotland Beautiful

Keep Wales Tidy and Keep Scotland Beautiful have been selected alongside eight other organisations, based across the UK, that are all focused on solving a broad range of critical environmental and sustainability problems. These local, regional and global challenges range from detecting individual tiger stripe patterns to help counter trade in tigers and tiger skins, to identifying sources of river pollution.

 

What is The Alan Turing Institute?

The Alan Turing Institute is the UK’s national institute for data science and artificial intelligence, with headquarters at the British Library.

The Institute is named in honour of Alan Turing (23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954), whose pioneering work in theoretical and applied mathematics, engineering and computing is considered to have laid the foundations for modern-day data science and artificial intelligence.

We have been selected alongside eight other organisations form across the UK that are all focused on solving a broad range of critical environmental and sustainability problems. These local, regional and global challenges range from detecting individual tiger stripe patterns to help counter trade in tigers and tiger skins, to identifying sources of river pollution.

Convening data scientists and industry collaborators will harness our collaborative power to tackle a range of environmental problems. We’ve focused on environmental organisations because we’re committed to working towards solutions to some of the big climate-related challenges that we face globally. The combined TIN and DSG programme will offer some innovative data science approaches to tackling real-world problems.

Mark Girolami
Chief Scientist Professor

Applications for PhD students to take part are now open – find out more and apply.

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