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Pre-call announcement: Turing Artificial Intelligence World-Leading Researcher Fellowships

Outline proposals will soon be invited for Turing AI World-Leading Researcher Fellowships. This £18 million programme will invest in the international recruitment and retention of a small number of world-leading AI researchers, with significant packages of support (£3-5 million) to enable the building of new UK capability and capacity in key areas of AI research. It will enable world-leading researchers in AI technologies to move to (or remain in) the UK, thereby building and growing the UK’s international competitiveness and reputation in AI. The full call document will be published on the UKRI website in mid-November.

The Turing AI Fellowships represent a £46 million investment by the UK in recruiting and retaining world-leading academic talent in AI. ‘AI and the Data Economy’ was identified as one of the Industrial Strategy Grand Challenges in which the UK can lead the world for years to come due to the huge global opportunity AI presents. The Turing AI Fellowships are a direct response to the Government commissioned review of the AI sector, which recommended that an international fellowship programme for AI should be created. Following the Government’s AI Sector Deal in early 2018 “up to £50 million in new Turing AI Fellowships to bring the best global researchers in AI to the UK” was committed to in the 2018 Budget.

Following a pilot phase of the investment in early 2019 led by the Alan Turing Institute EPSRC, on behalf of UKRI, is delivering this substantive second phase of the Turing AI Fellowships, working in partnership with the Alan Turing Institute, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Office for Artificial Intelligence.

This URKI-led phase of the Turing AI Fellowships consists of two separate programmes:

  1. Turing AI Acceleration Fellowships (£18m) intended to accelerate the careers of high potential researchers towards a world-leading position by the end of their fellowship. This call was published on 24 October 2019.
  2. Turing AI World-Leading Researcher Fellowships (£18m) focused on building critical mass in the UK.

It is expected that fellows will:

  • Establish a world leading centre of excellence in a strategically important area of AI research
  • Lead a major programme of AI research, translation and innovation
  • Build strong relationships and collaborations with academia, industry and broader stakeholders in the UK and internationally
  • Act as a leader in the community and as an ambassador and advocate for it, driving forward the UK and international research agenda
  • Develop the skills and careers of their teams, developing the independent researchers and innovators of the future
  • Actively engage with the questions around AI and ethics, and responsible research and innovation (RRI) throughout their activities
  • Deliver research with a high likelihood of impact on UK society and the economy
  • Build a broader portfolio of funding and activities beyond the fellowship, moving towards a position of sustainability at the end of the fellowship

Application and assessment

Outline proposals must be led by the host organisation and will be assessed by an expert panel. Successful outlines will be invited to submit a full proposal led by the proposed fellow. Full proposals will be assessed by postal peer review followed by an interview panel.

Key dates

  • Call published – Mid-November 2019
  • Outline proposal deadline – 2 April 2020
  • Outline proposal decision – Late May 2020
  • Full proposal deadline – 23 July 2020
  • Interview panel – Late October 2020
  • Funding decision – Early November 2020
  • Grant start date – 1 April 2021

These dates may change in the full call document.

Documents