27 July 2017
SITA have established a bursary of £12,000 for the support of innovative data science projects in memory of their colleague Andy Murray. The projects will be undertaken by Masters students and academic staff in Lancaster University’s Data Science Institute (DSI) working alongside SITA staff.

In 1990's SITA started creating the ETAS (evisa) service for Australia. In 2001 the tragic events in 9/11 led to governments re-evaluating their security framework and SITA, being at the heart of the air transport industry, was called on to develop technology solutions to support the identification of new security threats through passenger information and profiling. Andy was at the forefront of this engagement with governments around the world, acting as head of solution design for our government solution line.

Andy's skill was in his capacity to understand customer problems on a grand scale - and his ability to drive the solution through a complex organisation like SITA - no problem was too large. Andy was central in building SITA's Government business which provides complete IT solutions to many governments. Andy's passion for the business and his incredible wealth of knowledge in this unique sector of our business had a big impact on SITA as a whole and he was singularly highly respected around the organisation - and also by our clients. At a personal level, Andy looked out for his team and supported them when required - even at incredible personal commitment to the SITA business, his team and colleagues. His impact was felt by many people in aviation security from around the world.

This year the bursary will support projects that examine the cybersecurity of airline systems, the handling of baggage transfers and the secure sharing of information within the air travel industry. Tuli Faas, who is leading the initiative from SITA, said: “SITA’s overall aims are to work with our customers to make every aspect of air travel better and more efficient. Bringing enhancements to the airport ecosystem using data science is an essential enabler to achieve our aims."

DSI’s MSc Data Science Programme Director, Dr Chris Edwards, said “We are grateful that SITA have chosen to commission this bursary in the memory of their colleague. This bursary creates wonderful opportunities for our students and we are sure that the projects will be hugely worthwhile.” The projects will be undertaken by Michael Thomas, Patrick Valente and Dr Amit Chopra.

About SITA

SITA is the communications and IT solution provider that transforms air travel through technology for airlines, at airports and on aircraft. The company’s portfolio covers everything from managed global communications and infrastructure services, to eAircraft, passenger management, baggage, self-service, airport and border management solutions. Owned 100% by more than 400 air transport industry members, SITA has a unique understanding of its needs and places a strong emphasis on technology innovation.

About DSI

DSI leads the development of new approaches to data science and their application to real world problems. DSI is one of the strongest and most diverse data science communities internationally. DSI’s world-leading research is recognised by the UK’s research councils, Innovate UK and industry partners who fund major programmes developing next generation data science methods and technologies.

Web address: www.lancaster.ac.uk/dsi/education