Funding opportunity

Funding opportunity: AHRC: BRAID Responsible AI Demonstrators

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This funding opportunity is part of AHRC’s Bridging Responsible AI Divides (BRAID) programme.

Apply for funding to undertake BRAID Responsible AI (RAI) demonstrator projects that will seek to address real-world challenges facing sectors, businesses, communities and publics in the responsible development and application of AI technologies.

Each demonstrator will be an intervention designed to advance RAI in a specific context. AHRC expects these projects to be co-designed and delivered in partnership with stakeholders outside of academia.

You must be based at a UK research organisation eligible for AHRC funding.

Who can apply

Before applying for funding, check the Eligibility of your organisation.

UK research and Innovation (UKRI) has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new UKRI Funding Service.

For full details, visit Eligibility as an individual.

We acknowledge that multiple disciplines are needed to help develop AI responsibly, and therefore single-discipline teams are out of scope for this funding opportunity. However, in keeping with BRAID and AHRC’s remit, we expect the majority of the core team to be in arts and humanities disciplines (such as law, philosophy and design). Demonstrators will be collaborative projects that bring the knowledge, skills and experiences of multiple disciplines and sectors to bear on real-world AI challenges. We expect all proposals to be led by a team with complementary expertise.

Each demonstrator will be an intervention designed to advance responsible artificial intelligence (RAI) in a specific context with at least two non-academic partners. We expect these projects to be co-designed and delivered in partnership with stakeholders outside of academia. Where appropriate you may also consider how to engage the public when designing and delivering your demonstrator project.

Recipients of BRAID Scoping to Embed Responsible AI in Context project funding are eligible to apply for demonstrator funding; however, there is not a requirement for applicants to have secured BRAID funding previously.

Who is eligible to apply

Early career researchers

The inclusion of early career researchers and researchers from marginalised or under-represented groups at all stages is strongly encouraged. Appropriate support and mentoring for these individuals should be provided to ensure that professional and career development opportunities can be realised.

If the project lead is an early career researcher, as defined in AHRC’s guidance on training and developing early career researchers in the arts and humanities, a mentor must be included within the application. This mentor must be clearly outlined in the resources and cost justification section of the application form.

For mentoring cost, an hour per month of the mentor’s time should be built into the budget as a directly allocated cost and entered in the application form in the other directly allocated costs section. Estates and indirect costs for this one hour can also be charged to the grant.

Institutions may provide additional mentoring support alongside other forms of leadership or career development support for early career applicants.

Applicants at other stages of their career can also include mentorship in the application if it is felt it would support the project leadership and benefit delivery of the proposed work.

Applications will be limited to two per research organisation as project lead to encourage a diverse geographic spread. We encourage applications to have representation from at least two nations in the UK, this could be as academic or non-academic partners. Applications from, or including partners from Wales and Northern Ireland are especially welcomed as these are currently underrepresented in the BRAID portfolio.

Job share arrangements for project lead are permitted. Please note that for administrative purposes our system can only support a single named project lead.

Non-UK and non-academic project co-leads

Project co-leads from outside the UK and from non-academic organisations may be included in your costings, up to 30% of the total full economic cost (FEC).

International co-leads and non-academic co-leads are funded at 100% FEC. Guidance regarding international project co-leads can be found in the AHRC research funding guide.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

We are committed to achieving equality of opportunity for all funding applicants. We encourage applications from a diverse range of researchers.

We support people to work in a way that suits their personal circumstances. This includes:

  • career breaks
  • support for people with caring responsibilities
  • flexible working
  • alternative working patterns

Find out more about equality, diversity and inclusion at UKRI

What we're looking for

It is mandatory for applicants to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI), EOIs must be submitted by 16 May 2024

Aims

BRAID demonstrator projects will seek to address real-world challenges facing sectors, businesses, communities and publics in the responsible development and application of AI technologies. Designed to support human-centred and humane AI innovation, demonstrators will be collaborative, co-produced projects that involve multiple stakeholder groups, including the public where appropriate.

Our ambition is to demonstrate the transformative power of embedding responsible, human-centred approaches and thinking at the earliest stages of the AI R&D pipeline, and across the AI lifecycle. Funded projects will support this ambition by demonstrating and evaluating the application of one or more specific Responsible AI (RAI) practices, tools, techniques or other types of intervention, in a particular context and aligned to one or more of the BRAID programme’s delivery themes.

Funding from AHRC will support risk mitigation for future projects that address AI challenges by testing different responsible and ethical solutions in real-world conditions, enabling new and innovative approaches to be piloted with the aim of improving contextual or general performance.

Scope

We seek proposals focused on ensuring the design, development, deployment, and governance of AI systems to support a positive, inclusive future and an AI enabled economy that is fair for all.

All BRAID demonstrators will contribute to achieving the aims of the overarching programme (see ‘Background information’ section for details) via the following objectives:

  • test and evaluate responsible AI tools, techniques and approaches in real world settings
  • inform RAI best practice by providing tangible examples with evaluations
  • advance the RAI ecosystem, reinforcing the value of arts and humanities research and approaches
  • provide intellectual leadership in the RAI ecosystem

Demonstrators should enable development of practical, research-informed interventions in AI policy and practice (including but not limited to governance) and must demonstrate that they can significantly advance the status quo in relation to their chosen context(s) and theme(s).

Contexts:

  • a type of organisation, sector or both (for example, creative start-up, museum, bank, school)
  • a setting (for example, research lab, classroom, local authority)
  • a use case or application (for example, content generation, public service decision support, fraud detection)

Delivery themes

  • AI for Humane Innovation: integrating within AI research the humanistic perspectives that enable the personal, cultural, and political flourishing of human beings, by weaving historical, philosophical, literary and other humane arts into dialogue with AI communities of research, policy and practice
  • AI for Inspired Innovation: infusing the AI ecosystem with more vibrant, imaginative, and creative visions of responsible AI futures
  • AI for Equitable Innovation: directing research and policy attention to the need to ensure that broader UK publics, particularly those marginalised within the digital economy, can expect more sustainable and equitable futures from AI development
  • AI for Resilient Innovation: encouraging uplifting research, policy and practise to ensure AI ameliorates growing threats to global and national security, the rule of law, liberty, social cohesion, and sustainability

The AI ecosystem is a complex multi-stakeholder environment and, as such, we expect proposals to engage multiple stakeholders (including the public where appropriate) in genuine coproduction, with a clear and tractable plan to impact.

You are encouraged to embed opportunities for public engagement (PE) as appropriate to achieving the project’s aims and objectives, and encouraged to request support for PE activities accordingly. Where PE is included in the project, approaches to achieving diversity, inclusion and equity of participation must be outlined and evidenced.

Projects funded through this funding opportunity will be expected to work with the AHRC BRAID programme, including the programme directors and other grant holders. Projects must share their engagement plans for how they will engage with the BRAID programme, and wider stakeholders as part of their application.

For more information on the background of this funding opportunity, go to the ‘Additional information’ section.

Duration

The duration of this award is 36 months.

Projects must start 1 February 2025.

Funding available

The full economic cost (FEC) of your project can be up to £1.1 million.

AHRC will fund 80% of the FEC.

All demonstrators will be expected to realise leveraged co-investment from third parties (project partners). While there is no lower limit set on the level of co-investment expected at the outset of the project, you must have secured some material commitment (for example cash or in-kind contributions*) and this should be outlined in the proposal. *In-kind contributions could include gifted time or services such as expert advice from a specialist, use of resources such as data, buildings, networks and so on.

In addition, all demonstrators must commit to increasing the level of co-investment committed over the course of the project.

For contributions from any source to be considered co-investment, they must be new funding and specific to realising the aims of the demonstrator. UK higher education institutions that receive grant funding from one of the UK higher education funding bodies cannot be project partners, that is, they cannot make contributions in-kind to the project., for further details please refer to page 35 of the AHRC research funding guide.

What we will fund

We will fund:

  • a minimum of three individuals as part of the leadership team. With complimentary expertise
  • proposals where the majority of the research, that is, the main focus of its research questions and problems, or methodology must lie within the arts and humanities
  • interventions designed to advance RAI in a specific context
  • projects where the research focus is the UK

What we will not fund

We will not fund:

  • single disciplinary teams are out of scope for this funding opportunity
  • proposals that do not have at least 51% of their remit within AHRC. Please see the full list of AHRC’s remit and proposal disciplines from page 97 of the AHRC research funding guide
  • projects that are focused on theoretical research and do not demonstrate significant applied research in context
  • projects that are limited to the investigators’ own disciplines and do not demonstrate an interest in engaging with the wider AI ecosystem
  • proposals that do not embed Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and EDI considerations into the research itself as well as into the research practices.

Webinar for potential applicants

We held a webinar on 18 April 2024 at 10:00am UK time. This provided an opportunity to hear more from AHRC and BRAID, the aims of the programme, how the demonstrators fit into the overall BRAID programme, and to ask any questions.

Watch the webinar recording via Zoom.

Passcode: rGf^1#zG

Supporting skills and talent

We encourage you to follow the principles of the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and the Technician Commitment.

International collaboration

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is committed in ensuring that effective international collaboration in research and innovation takes place with integrity and within strong ethical frameworks. Trusted Research and Innovation (TR&I) is a UKRI work programme designed to help protect all those working in our thriving and collaborative international sector by enabling partnerships to be as open as possible, and as secure as necessary. Our TR&I Principles set out UKRI’s expectations of organisations funded by UKRI in relation to due diligence for international collaboration.

As such, applicants for UKRI funding may be asked to demonstrate how their proposed projects will comply with our approach and expectation towards TR&I, identifying potential risks and the relevant controls you will put in place to help proportionately reduce these risks.

Further guidance and information about TR&I, including where you can find additional support.

How to apply

Prior to submitting your application, it is a mandatory requirement to complete the Expression of Interest (EOI) Survey, EOIs must be submitted by 16 May 2024.

We are running this funding opportunity on the new UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service so please ensure that your organisation is registered. You cannot apply on the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system.

The project lead is responsible for completing the application process on the Funding Service, but we expect all team members and project partners to contribute to the application.

Only the lead research organisation can submit an application to UKRI.

To apply

Select ‘Start application’ near the beginning of this Funding finder page.

  1. Confirm you are the project lead.
  2. Sign in or create a Funding Service account. To create an account, select your organisation, verify your email address, and set a password. If your organisation is not listed, email support@funding-service.ukri.org
    Please allow at least 10 working days for your organisation to be added to the Funding Service.
  3. Answer questions directly in the text boxes. You can save your answers and come back to complete them or work offline and return to copy and paste your answers. If we need you to upload a document, follow the upload instructions in the Funding Service. All questions and assessment criteria are listed in the How to apply section on this Funding finder page.
  4. Allow enough time to check your application in ‘read-only’ view before sending to your research office.
  5. Send the completed application to your research office for checking. They will return it to you if it needs editing.
  6. Your research office will submit the completed and checked application to UKRI.

Where indicated, you can also demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. You should:

  • use images sparingly and only to convey important information that cannot easily be put into words
  • insert each new image onto a new line
  • provide a descriptive legend for each image immediately underneath it (this counts towards your word limit)
  • ensure files are smaller than 5MB and in JPEG, JPG, JPE, JFI, JIF, JFIF, PNG, GIF, BMP or WEBP format

Watch our research office webinars about the new Funding Service.

For more guidance on the Funding Service, see:

References

Applications should be self-contained, and hyperlinks should only be used to provide links directly to reference information. To ensure the information’s integrity is maintained, where possible, persistent identifiers such as digital object identifiers should be used. Assessors are not required to access links to carry out assessment or recommend a funding decision. You should use your discretion when including references and prioritise those most pertinent to the application.

References should be included in the appropriate question section of the application and be easily identifiable by the assessors for example, (Smith, Research Paper, 2019)

You must not include links to web resources to extend your application.

Deadline

AHRC must receive your application by 27 June at 4:00pm UK time.

You will not be able to apply after this time.

Make sure you are aware of and follow any internal institutional deadlines.

Following the submission of your application to the funding opportunity, your application cannot be changed, and applications will not be returned for amendment. If your application does not follow the guidance, it may be rejected.

Personal data

Processing personal data

AHRC, as part of UKRI, will need to collect some personal information to manage your Funding Service account and the registration of your funding applications.

We will handle personal data in line with UK data protection legislation and manage it securely. For more information, including how to exercise your rights, read our privacy notice.

Publication of outcomes

AHRC, as part of UKRI, will publish the outcomes of this funding opportunity at AHRC panel outcomes and attendance.

If your application is successful, we will publish some personal information on the UKRI Gateway to Research.

Summary

Word limit: 550

In plain English, provide a summary we can use to identify the most suitable experts to assess your application.

We usually make this summary publicly available on external-facing websites, therefore do not include any confidential or sensitive information. Make it suitable for a variety of readers, for example:

  • opinion-formers
  • policymakers
  • the public
  • the wider research community

Guidance for writing a summary

Clearly describe your proposed work in terms of:

  • context
  • the challenge the project addresses
  • the BRAID theme the proposal aligns with
  • aims and objectives
  • potential applications and benefits

Core team

List the key members of your team and assign them roles from the following:

  • project lead (PL)
  • project co-lead (UK) (PcL)
  • project co-lead (international) (PcL (I))
  • specialist
  • grant manager
  • professional enabling staff, such as public engagement professionals
  • research and innovation associate
  • technician
  • visiting researcher

You may only list one individual as project lead when assigning roles, but it can be made clear in the rest of the application where a co-project lead is being proposed.

Find out more about UKRI’s core team roles in funding applications.

Application questions

Vision

Word limit: 500

What are you hoping to achieve with your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how your proposed work:

  • is of excellent quality and importance within or beyond the field(s) or area(s)
  • has the potential to advance current understanding, or generate new knowledge, thinking or discovery within or beyond the field or area
  • is timely given current trends, context, and needs
  • impacts world-leading research, society, the economy, or the environment
  • informs future research or interventions in the space of responsible AI
  • clearly aligns to the aims and themes of the BRAID programme

Within the Vision section, we expect you to demonstrate clear relevance and fit to the aims and theme of the BRAID programme as outlined in the ‘Scope’ section.

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

References may be included within this section.

Approach

Word limit: 2,500

How are you going to deliver your proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how you have designed your approach so that it:

  • is effective and appropriate to achieve your objectives
  • is feasible, and comprehensively identifies any risks to delivery and how they will be managed
  • uses a clearly written and transparent methodology (if applicable)
  • summarises the previous work and describes how this will be built upon and progressed (if applicable)
  • will maximise translation of outputs into outcomes and impacts
  • describes how your, and if applicable your team’s, research environment (in terms of the place and relevance to the project) will contribute to the success of the work

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

References may be included within this section.

Within the Approach section we also expect you to:

  • provide a detailed and comprehensive project plan including milestones and timelines in the form of a Gantt chart or similar. Please make sure to check sizing and readability of the image using ‘read view’ prior to submission
  • provide details of how the project team plan to engage with the BRAID programme and wider stakeholders (and the public where appropriate)

Applicant and team capability to deliver

Word limit: 1,650

Why are you the right individual or team to successfully deliver the proposed work?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Evidence of how you, and if relevant your team, have:

  • the relevant experience (appropriate to career stage) to deliver the proposed work
  • the right balance of skills and expertise to cover the proposed work
  • the appropriate leadership and management skills to deliver the work and your approach to develop others
  • contributed to developing a positive research environment and wider community

The word count for this section is 1,650 words: 1,150 words to be used for R4RI modules (including references) and, if necessary, a further 500 words for Additions.

Use the Résumé for Research and Innovation (R4RI) format to showcase the range of relevant skills you and, if relevant, your team (project and project co-leads, researchers, technicians, specialists, partners and so on) have and how this will help deliver the proposed work. You can include individuals’ specific achievements but only choose past contributions that best evidence their ability to deliver this work.

Complete this section using the R4RI module headings listed. Use each heading once and include a response for the whole team, see the UKRI guidance on R4RI. You should consider how to balance your answer, and emphasise where appropriate the key skills each team member brings:

  • contributions to the generation of new ideas, tools, methodologies, or knowledge
  • the development of others and maintenance of effective working relationships
  • contributions to the wider research and innovation community
  • contributions to broader research or innovation users and audiences and towards wider societal benefit

Within the Applicant and team capability to deliver section we also expect you to:

  • provide a plan on how the different disciplines will work together, clearly articulating the role of arts and humanities within the project

As a minimum, all named members of the leadership team should be discussed within this section of the form.

If references or citations are deemed appropriate, these should be included within the section’s word limit. We would advise you not to include hyperlinks, as assessors are not obliged to access the information they lead to or consider it in their assessment of your application. If you are linking to web resources, to maintain the information’s integrity, include persistent identifiers (such as digital object identifiers) where possible. You must not include links to web resources to extend your application.

Additions

Provide any further details relevant to your application. This section is optional and can be up to 500 words. You should not use it to describe additional skills, experiences, or outputs, but you can use it to describe any factors that provide context for the rest of your R4RI (for example, details of career breaks if you wish to disclose them).

Complete this as a narrative. Do not format it like a CV.

References may be included in this section.

UKRI has introduced new role types for funding opportunities being run on the new Funding Service.

For full details, see Eligibility as an individual.

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)

Word limit: 500

What are the ethical or RRI implications and issues relating to the proposed work? If you do not think that the proposed work raises any ethical or RRI issues, explain why.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Demonstrate that you have identified and evaluated:

  • the relevant ethical or responsible research and innovation considerations
  • how you will manage these considerations

You may demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant. Further details are provided in the Funding Service.

As ethics and RRI are essential considerations to the BRAID programme and this funding opportunity, we expect:

  • you to have clearly thought through how you will address these in the context of responsible AI
  • plans to ensure health, safety and wellbeing of public audiences is effectively planned for and well-managed (if appropriate)
  • appropriate safeguarding, consent and ethical processes are put in place, which align with university and partner regulations

Research involving human participation

Word limit: 700

Will the project involve the use of human subjects or their personal information?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

If you are proposing research that requires the involvement of human subjects, provide the name of any required approving body and whether approval is already in place.

Justify the number and the diversity of the participants involved, as well as any procedures.

Provide details of any areas of substantial or moderate severity of impact.

If this does not apply to your proposed work, you will be able to indicate this in the Funding Service.

Resources and cost justification

Word limit: 1,000

What will you need to deliver your proposed work and how much will it cost?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Justify the application’s more costly resources, in particular:

  • project staff
  • significant travel for field work or collaboration (but not regular travel between collaborating organisations or to conferences)
  • any consumables beyond typical requirements, or that are required in exceptional quantities
  • all facilities and infrastructure costs
  • all resources that have been costed as ‘Exceptions’

Please also include any costings relating to public engagement activities where appropriate.

Assessors are not looking for detailed costs or a line-by-line breakdown of all project resources. Overall, they want you to demonstrate how the resources you anticipate needing for your proposed work:

  • are comprehensive, appropriate, and justified
  • represent the optimal use of resources to achieve the intended outcomes
  • maximise potential outcomes and impacts

We do not provide funding for individual items of equipment over £10,000. Please see section three of the AHRC research funding guide for further information.

Governance

Word limit: 500

How will you manage the award to successfully deliver its objectives?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Explain how the proposed award will be managed, demonstrating that it:

  • will be effectively governed, including details about advisory structures
  • will be effectively and inclusively managed, demonstrated by a clear management plan
  • has clear leadership team roles and responsibilities
  • will manage and encourage partnerships with non-HEI organisations across government, industry and civil society
  • has plans for monitoring your progress as well as self-evaluation throughout the lifetime of your award
  • will effectively manage reporting requirements to the BRAID programme

Within this section you can also demonstrate elements of your responses in visual form if relevant.

Project partners

Add details about any project partners’ contributions.

A project partner is a collaborating organisation who will have an integral role in the proposed research. This may include direct (cash) or indirect (in-kind) contributions such as expertise, staff time or use of facilities.

Add the following project partner details:

  • the organisation name and address (searchable via a drop-down list or enter the organisation’s details manually, as applicable)
  • the project partner contact name and email address
  • the type of contribution (direct or in-direct) and its monetary value

If a detail is entered incorrectly and you have saved the entry, remove the specific project partner record and re-add it with the correct information.

For audit purposes, UKRI requires formal collaboration agreements to be put in place if an award is made.

Project partners: letters (or emails) of support

Upload a single PDF containing the letters or emails of support from each partner you named in the ‘Project partner’ section. These should be uploaded in English or Welsh only.

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Enter the words ‘attachment supplied’ in the text box.

Each letter or email you provide should:

  • confirm the partner’s commitment to the project
  • clearly explain the value, relevance, and possible benefits of the work to them
  • describe any additional value that they bring to the project
  • the page limit is a maximum of two sides of A4 per partner

The Funding Service will provide document upload details when you apply.

Ensure you have prior agreement from project partners so that, if you are offered funding, they will support your project as indicated in the ‘Project partners’ section.

For audit purposes, UKRI requires formal collaboration agreements to be put in place if an award is made.

Data management and sharing

Word limit: 500

How will you manage and share data collected or acquired through the proposed research?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Provide a data management plan that clearly details how you will comply with UKRI’s published data sharing policy, which includes detailed guidance notes.

Trusted Research and Innovation (TR&I)

Word limit: 100

Does the proposed work involve international collaboration in a sensitive research or technology area?

What the assessors are looking for in your response

Demonstrate how your proposed international collaboration relates to Trusted Research and Innovation, including:

  • list the countries your international project co-leads, project partners and visiting researchers, or other collaborators are based in
  • if international collaboration is involved, explain whether this project is relevant to one or more of the 17 areas of the UK National Security and Investment (NSI) Act
  • if one or more of the 17 areas of the UK National Security and Investment (NSI) Act are involved list the areas

If your proposed work does not involve international collaboration, answer ‘N/A’ here.

We may ask you to provide additional information about how your proposed project will comply with our approach and expectation towards TR&I, identifying potential risks and the relevant controls you will put in place to help manage these risks

How we will assess your application

Assessment process

We will assess your application using the following process.

Following an office check stage to ensure each application meets eligibility and funding opportunity requirements, your proposal will sent for peer review.

Peer review

We will invite peers to review your application independently, against the specified criteria for this funding opportunity.

You will not be able to nominate reviewers for applications on the new UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service. Research councils will continue to select expert reviewers.

We are monitoring the requirement for applicant-nominated reviewers as we review policies and processes as part of the continued development of the new Funding Service.

Shortlisting

We will review the comments and scores for each application.

Applications that receive an initial two unsupportive expert review scores will be rejected prior to receiving a third expert review and will not proceed to the project lead (PL) response stage. A review is considered unsupportive when it is marked as not recommended for funding or not suitable for funding (score 1 – 3). Should an application receive a fundable score within the first two expert reviews, a third expert review will be sourced, and the application will either move to PL response or be rejected depending on the score received.

Shortlisted applications will go to a panel who will make a funding recommendation.

If your application is shortlisted, you will have 14 days to respond to reviewers’ comments.

Panel

Following peer review, we will invite experts to use the evidence provided by reviewers and your applicant response to assess the quality of your application and rank it alongside other applications after which the panel will make a funding recommendation.

AHRC will make the final funding decision.

We reserve the right to use the recommendations to create a balanced portfolio of projects, considering the diversity of teams, research themes, and geographies in that process. We strongly recommend that you read the background information below to ensure your proposal meets the assessment criteria.

We reserve the right to modify the assessment process as needed.

Timescale

We aim to complete the assessment process and notify applicants of the funding decision in December.

Principles of assessment

We support the San Francisco declaration on research assessment and recognise the relationship between research assessment and research integrity.

Find out about the UKRI principles of assessment and decision making.

Data sharing

Successful projects will be required to work with the programme directors for Bridging Responsible AI Divides (BRAID).

The programme directors for Responsible AI Demonstrators will:

  • connect the funded projects with each other
  • enable access to the programme’s network and activities
  • provide funded applicants with opportunities for cohort networking events

The following details of the successful projects will be shared for the above purposes:

  • project lead name and contact email
  • project co-lead name and contact email
  • project partner name and contact email
  • project summary

How we will use your personal data

The personal data you give us will be used to facilitate the Bridging Responsible AI Divides (BRAID) programme through sharing applicant’s contact details with the programme directors and the principal investigators of the other successful projects for collaboration and communication purposes as described above.

Your personal data will be handled in line with UK data protection legislation and managed securely. If you would like to know more, including how to exercise your rights, please see our privacy notice.

Assessment areas

Your application will be assessed against criteria that directly relate to the core application questions:

  • Vision
  • Approach
  • Applicant and team capability to deliver
  • Ethics and responsible research and innovation (RRI)
  • Research involving human participation
  • Resources and cost justification
  • Governance
  • Project partners
  • Data management and sharing

Find details of assessment questions and criteria under the ‘Application questions’ heading in the ‘How to apply’ section.’

Contact details

Get help with your application

If you have a question and the answers aren’t provided on this page

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Helpdesk is committed to helping users of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Funding Service as effectively and as quickly as possible. In order to manage cases at peak volume times, the Helpdesk will triage and prioritise those queries with an imminent opportunity deadline or a technical issue. Enquiries raised where information is available on the Funding Finder opportunity page and should be understood early in the application process (for example, regarding eligibility or content/remit of an opportunity) will not constitute a priority case and will be addressed as soon as possible.

Contact details

For help and advice on costings and writing your proposal please contact your research office in the first instance, allowing sufficient time for your organisation’s submission process.

For questions related to this specific funding opportunity please contact: AHRC AI & Design Team ai.design@ahrc.ukri.org

AHRC will not be able to provide our usual levels of service if applications and associated questions are only submitted at or close to the closing date of this funding opportunity and we will not extend deadlines to account for issues which arise. Therefore you are strongly encouraged to raise any queries with us at least five working days in advance of the closing date a to ensure we can provide a timely response.

Any queries regarding the system or the submission of applications through the Funding Service should be directed to the helpdesk.

Email: support@funding-service.ukri.org

Phone: 01793 547490

Our phone lines are open:

  • Monday to Thursday 8:30am to 5:00pm
  • Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm

To help us process queries quicker, we request that users highlight the council and opportunity name in the subject title of their email query, include the application reference number, and refrain from contacting more than one mailbox at a time.

Find information on submitting an application.

Sensitive information

If you or a core team member need to tell us something you wish to remain confidential, email ai.design@ahrc.ukri.org

Include in the subject line: [the funding opportunity title; sensitive information; your Funding Service application number].

Typical examples of confidential information include:

  • individual is unavailable until a certain date (for example due to parental leave)
  • declaration of interest
  • additional information about eligibility to apply that would not be appropriately shared in the ‘Applicant and team capability’ section
  • conflict of interest for UKRI to consider in reviewer or panel participant selection
  • the application is an invited resubmission

For information about how UKRI handles personal data, read UKRI’s privacy notice

Additional info

Background

Advances in AI are poised to shape UK society and the economy in profound ways. The AI sector study reported that between 2019 and 2021 there was a five-fold increase in investment in the UK AI sector, totaling £10.6 billion in revenue. AI technologies are not just an economic force but a cultural one as well. They are rapidly transforming the creative arts, education, healthcare, media, government and transportation, promising new benefits and opportunities in each of these areas. Yet AI also presents immense challenges for democratic health, information integrity, cybersecurity, accountability, transparency, sustainability, equity and human safety.

For this reason the UK government have prioritised investment in safe and responsible AI development, launching a new UK AI Safety Institute in the wake of 2023’s AI Safety Summit, and committing over £100m in UKRI funding to enable and support a Responsible AI ecosystem, as part of a larger £1 billion portfolio of investments in AI research and innovation.

As part of this commitment, the BRAID (Bridging Responsible AI Divides) programme was launched by AHRC in 2022, with a total of £15.9 million in planned funding through 2028. In partnership with Ada Lovelace Institute and the BBC, BRAID’s multidisciplinary team is led by co-Directors Professor Ewa Luger and Professor Shannon Vallor at the University of Edinburgh. BRAID seeks to enrich, expand, and connect a mature, sustainable and responsible AI ecosystem by leveraging the power of the arts and humanities to enable more humane, inspired, equitable and resilient forms of AI innovation.

In practice, this means inviting more voices and insights from the arts and humanities to help forge new partnerships and communities in the UK’s AI ecosystem. It means enabling more effective co-construction and translation of Responsible AI expertise across the many different disciplines, communities and sectors within the UK’s AI ecosystem. It means more effectively supporting the embedding and adoption of arts and humanities-informed Responsible AI research and practice in concrete settings of AI application and governance. And it means working to ensure that the AI ecosystem becomes more equitable, answerable and accountable to the most heavily impacted communities. Funding for the BRAID demonstrator projects is designed to further these goals.

As observed in this June 2023 blog post from BRAID’s directors, the arts and humanities are essential to defining what it means for AI to be ‘responsible’ – a goal that is widely affirmed but still often inconsistently or superficially described. The arts and humanities, broadly construed to include both academic and non-academic voices, also provide many of the critical perspectives currently missing from, or neglected in, prominent technical and regulatory debates about how to achieve safe and beneficial AI innovation.

As an essential complement to other UKRI investments such as RAI UK and the newly funded AI CDTs, BRAID is designed to ensure that the distinctive contributions and expertise of the arts and humanities inform and shape the future of a responsible AI ecosystem in the UK.

Webinar for potential applicants

We held a webinar on 18 April 2024 at 10:00am UK time. This provided an opportunity to hear more from AHRC and BRAID, the aims of the programme, how the demonstrators fit into the overall BRAID programme, and to ask any questions.

Watch the webinar recording via Zoom.

Passcode: rGf^1#zG

Research disruption due to COVID-19

We recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused major interruptions and disruptions across our communities. We are committed to ensuring that individual applicants and their wider team, including partners and networks, are not penalised for any disruption to their career, such as:

  • breaks and delays
  • disruptive working patterns and conditions
  • the loss of ongoing work
  • role changes that may have been caused by the pandemic

Reviewers and panel members will be advised to consider the unequal impacts that COVID-19 related disruption might have had on the capability to deliver and career development of those individuals included in the application. They will be asked to consider the capability of the applicant and their wider team to deliver the research they are proposing.

Where disruptions have occurred, you can highlight this within your application if you wish, but there is no requirement to detail the specific circumstances that caused the disruption.

Supporting documents

Equality impact assessment (DOCX, 46KB)

Updates

  • 23 April 2024
    Governance subsection updated in How to apply and webinar recording added in What we're looking for and Additional Info.

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