Second call for global AI leaders to launch

Abs hologram data flow grid.

UKRI will launch a second call for world-leading artificial intelligence (AI) researchers, designed to retain and attract top global talent in the field.

Up to £20 million funding is available through a further two rounds of the Turing AI World-Leading Researcher Fellowships. This will support exceptional researchers to advance AI through world-leading programmes of research.

It will be launched following an announcement of further funding by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in 2021, and the announcement of the first five world-leading researcher fellows.

Exceptional researchers

The call was announced by Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy Chris Philp today at AI UK.

The event is the national showcase of AI and data science research and collaboration hosted by The Alan Turing Institute, the national institute for data science and AI.

He said:

Supporting the next generation of top AI talent is vital to ensure the UK remains a global science and tech superpower.

The Turing AI fellowships attract the best and brightest researchers from across the country who will lead the world in advancing this transformative technology so it improves our lives, creates new jobs and helps boost the economy.

A valuable contribution

Government Chief Scientific Adviser and National Technology Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said:

The Turing AI World-Leading Researcher Fellowships make a valuable contribution to the UK’s AI ambitions by supporting leading AI researchers in their field.

This expertise will help the UK unlock the enormous potential of AI and ensure it works for the benefit of society.

Transformational technology

Science Minister George Freeman said:

The UK has a globally-leading role in AI, which already delivers a wide range of public benefits from improving cyber-security to identifying new and better drugs and treatments.

By attracting and retaining the very best in this field globally, the Turing AI World-Leading Researcher Fellows will help to build on this and ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of this transformational technology.

Fundamental challenges

The new fellows will advance the field of AI by developing new methods to address fundamental challenges in the field or other disciplines, building new AI capability and capacity for the UK.

The funding will be delivered by UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) through two rounds, with fellows starting in October 2023 and October 2024 respectively.

World-class centres of excellence

EPSRC Executive Chair, Professor Dame Lynn Gladden, said:

The Turing AI World-Leading Researcher Fellowships provide a platform for globally-leading researchers to conduct ambitious new research and collaborate across disciplines to address key challenges in AI.

The fellows will be leaders in their field, establishing world-class centres of excellence which will develop the skills and careers of the researchers and innovators of the future.

New diverse set of leaders

Chair of the AI Council Tabitha Goldstaub said:

Having seen the Turing AI World-Leading Researcher Fellows already add so much to the UK ecosystem I’m thrilled the second call is opening.

I’m excited at the opportunity to welcome and retain a new diverse set of leaders in the UK who actively engage with the questions around AI and ethics, and responsible research and innovation.

Strategic government investment

The fellowships are part of the Turing AI Fellowship programme, a strategic government investment to retain, attract and develop AI research talent, 25 fellowships have been awarded to date.

The programme is delivered in partnership by:

  • UKRI
  • The Alan Turing Institute
  • Office for AI.

UKRI will publish further information about the new call in the coming weeks.

Top image:  Credit: koto_feja, iStock via Getty Images

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