Record funding enhances Northumbria’s global reputation for AI research and teaching

Northumbria University has been named as one of 12 Centres for Doctoral Training in Artificial Intelligence as part of a major £118m funding announcement by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The centres, based at 16 universities, will train the next generation of AI researchers and innovators, benefitting the UK’s economy and society. Doctoral students will specialise in areas such as developing a responsible and trustworthy future for AI, healthcare, agriculture, and environmental sustainability to media.

The UKRI funding includes up to £9m for Northumbria, making it one of the largest single awards the University has ever received. The Centre at Northumbria will be known as the UKRI AI Centre for Doctoral Training in Citizen-Centred Artificial Intelligence, and will recruit its first cohort of students to start in September 2024.

It will involve academics from across the University and will focus on the inclusion of citizens in the design and evaluation of AI – helping to ensure the rapidly advancing technology works for everyone.

Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology Michelle Donelan said: “The UK is at the very front of the global race to turn AI’s awesome potential into a giant leap forward for people’s quality of life and productivity at work, all while ensuring this technology works safely, ethically and responsibly.”

Professor Shaun Lawson, who will be the Director of the UKRI AI Centre for Doctoral Training in Citizen-Centred Artificial Intelligence at Northumbria, said: “To be selected for this UKRI funding is a clear recognition of Northumbria’s growing research reputation, and represents a superb opportunity for prospective doctoral students looking to progress in this globally significant field.

“The Centre will take the fundamental position that only through inclusion of citizens in the design and evaluation of AI can the UK’s ambitions for a society – and economy – that fully embraces AI be achieved.”

Professor Andy Long, vice-chancellor and chief executive at Northumbria, added: “The significance of this announcement cannot be overstated. It further enhances the University’s international reputation for excellence and reflects the depth of cross-disciplinary collaboration and expertise we have in key areas where the UK is seeking to lead the world.”

“Having such an important Centre for Doctoral Training on our campus right here in the heart of Newcastle will help attract new talent and investment into the region, reinforcing Northumbria’s place and role as an anchor institution in the North East.”

UKRI chief executive, Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, said: “The UK is in a strong position to harness the power of AI to transform many aspects of our lives for the better. Crucial to this endeavour is nurturing the talented people and teams we need to apply AI to a broad spectrum of challenges, from healthy aging to sustainable agriculture, ensuring its responsible and trustworthy adoption.

“UKRI is investing £117m in Centres for Doctoral Training to develop the talented researchers and innovators we need for success.”

Credit: Bdaily

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