UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has allocated a substantial £117 million in funding for the establishment of 12 centres for doctoral training (CDTs) in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). These CDTs will be hosted by 16 prestigious universities across the United Kingdom. This initiative aims to empower doctoral students to drive AI innovations in various sectors, including healthcare, agriculture, environmental sustainability, and media.
This significant investment builds upon UKRI’s prior commitment of £100 million announced in 2018, highlighting the UK’s dedication to fostering AI expertise and its potential to revolutionize diverse aspects of society.
Broad spectrum of universities
The list of participating universities in the AI CDTs reads like a who’s who of academic institutions, encompassing Heriot-Watt University, University of Edinburgh, Imperial College London, Northumbria University, University of Bristol, University of Lincoln, University of Aberdeen, University of Strathclyde, Queen’s University Belfast, University of Manchester, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, University of Southampton, University of Surrey, University of York, and Royal Holloway, University of London.
Preparing for the future
Prospective AI doctoral students can anticipate commencing their studies in the 2024 to 2025 academic year, with the recruitment process set to commence shortly. The investment is geared towards nurturing the next generation of AI experts who will be instrumental in addressing a wide range of challenges and ensuring the responsible and trustworthy application of AI technologies.
Harnessing AI’s transformative potential
Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, Chief Executive of UKRI, emphasized the UK’s strong position in leveraging AI to enhance various facets of daily life. She underscored the importance of cultivating talented individuals and teams capable of applying AI to address pressing issues, from promoting healthy aging to fostering sustainable agriculture.
Government’s vision for AI
Michelle Donelan, Secretary of State for Science, Innovation, and Technology, emphasized the UK’s leading role in harnessing AI’s immense potential to elevate people’s quality of life and boost workplace productivity. She stressed the importance of ensuring the safe, ethical, and responsible use of AI while advancing its capabilities. The government’s plans aim to secure the nation’s skills base, enabling the UK to reap the benefits of AI’s ongoing development and deploy this technology for the greater good across governmental and societal domains.
The substantial investment in AI doctoral training reflects the UK’s commitment to nurturing talent in a field with vast implications for the future. As AI continues to evolve, these CDTs will play a crucial role in equipping students with the skills and knowledge needed to innovate, ensuring that AI is used to address pressing global challenges and improve the quality of life for all. The universities involved in this initiative are set to become hubs of AI research and development, driving progress in multiple sectors and contributing to the responsible adoption of AI technologies.