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Turing AI Fellowships to keep UK at forefront of Artificial Intelligence revolution


Turing AI Fellowships to keep UK at forefront of Artificial Intelligence revolution

World-leading researchers will develop pioneering new approaches to Artificial Intelligence (AI) through new fellowships announced by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) today, Thursday 24 October.

UK and international researchers from a diverse range of backgrounds are encouraged to apply to the next wave of Turing AI Fellowships, named after AI pioneer Alan Turing, which will support the very best with £36 million of funding.

The first five Turing AI Fellows, funded through the AI Sector Deal, have been announced by The Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s national institute for AI and data science. Their research will have direct relevance to areas ranging from mental health and the aerospace industry to astrophysics.

The fellowship investment is part of a comprehensive AI talent initiative that also includes 16 UKRI AI Centres for Doctoral Training, established with a £200 million UKRI, industry and university investment at 14 universities with 300 partners across industry. The first 200 students have started at the centres this autumn.

Making the announcement alongside a £170 million investment in Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Doctoral Training Partnerships, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The UK has educated, trained and developed some of the best scientists in the world – and we must continue to lead the world in AI and technology with our incredible talent and innovative breakthroughs.

“That’s why we’re investing millions of pounds to create hundreds of new AI and bioscience PhDs, so new research and development can thrive here in the UK and solve the biggest challenges that face us – from climate change to better healthcare.”

UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Professor Sir Mark Walport, said: “Talented people with ideas, energy and tenacity hold the key to unlocking the potential of Artificial Intelligence.  The Turing AI Fellowships support this talent, build on the UK’s reputation for creativity and innovation and ensure we remain at the forefront of this transformative technology.

“By attracting world-leading talent and developing the next generation of AI researchers and innovators, we will catalyse vital collaboration between academia, industry and government, delivering benefits that will be felt across society and the economy.”

The Turing AI Acceleration Fellowship will open shortly. Details of the Turing AI World-Leading Researcher Fellowships have also been released and the call will open in early November. Both calls have £18 million to support a number of fellows for five years.

The Turing AI World-Leading Researcher Fellowships will invest in the international recruitment and retention of three to five world-leading AI researchers, with significant packages of support.

Fellows will be expected to establish world-leading centres of excellence in strategically important areas of AI, build strong collaborations across academia, industry and other sectors both in the UK and internationally, and develop the next generation of AI researchers and innovators of the future.

The Turing AI Acceleration Fellowships will support the acceleration of the careers of 10-15 high potential mid-career researchers towards a world-leading position. Strong emphases within this programme will be on creativity of ideas, thought, and approach, and on enabling new models of collaboration between academia and other sectors.

Both calls are now open. For further information visit Turing Artificial Intelligence World-Leading Researcher Fellowships and Turing Artificial Intelligence Acceleration Fellowships.

The first five Turing AI Fellows announced today by The Alan Turing Institute are:

  • Professor Neil Lawrence, University of Cambridge, Senior Turing AI Fellow – Professor Lawrence is world-renowned for his work and as the first Senior Turing AI Fellow. He will focus on machine learning systems design ensuring that monitoring for performance, interpretability and fairness are key tenets of the ecosystem. Neil has also recently been named DeepMind Professor of Machine Learning at the University of Cambridge and is a member of the UK’s AI Council.
  • Dr Maria Liakata, University of Warwick, Turing AI Fellow – Dr Liakata’s work will focus on novel natural language processing methods to capture changes in user behaviour over time. This work has direct applicability to mental health as it will help provide experts with evidence for personalised changes in mood and cognition from everyday use of digital technologies.
  • Professor Yarin Gal, University of Oxford, Turing AI Fellow – Professor Gal will work on democratising safe and robust AI, by building community challenges derived from real-world applications of AI in industry to help develop new safe and robust AI tools for responsible use in industry.
  • Professor Anna Scaife, The University of Manchester, Turing AI Fellow – Professor Scaife focuses on AI for discovery in astrophysics and will ensure for example that the rarest and most extreme astrophysical objects are not discarded or missed in our processing of images captured from outer space.
  • Dr Tim Dodwell, University of Exeter, Turing AI Fellow – Dr Dodwell’s work addresses the challenge of building a more sustainable aviation industry, the benefits of which will not only allow the aerospace industry to build faster, lighter, more sustainable aircraft for the future, but also provide new applications across the high-value manufacturing sector and broader scientific communities.

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