New scholarships offer students from underrepresented backgrounds the chance of postgraduate study in AI and machine learning.
Interdisciplinary artificial intelligence group DeepMind has renewed its philanthropic commitment to postgraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds who wish to study AI and machine learning at Imperial’s Department of Computing.
A gift to the Department from DeepMind will support six new postgraduate scholarships in AI and machine learning over the next few academic years.
DeepMind’s gift provides funding for four Master’s-level scholarships and two PhD scholarships, all with a focus on artificial intelligence and machine learning. The scholarships are targeted at groups who are currently underrepresented in computing, particularly women and those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. The Master’s scholarships are due to commence in autumn 2020, whilst the two PhD scholarships will commence the following academic year, 2021-22.
Students who are selected for a DeepMind Master’s Scholarship will receive an award which covers fees and maintenance for the whole academic year; those who gain a DeepMind PhD Scholarship will receive fees and maintenance funding for the duration of their doctoral studies – usually up to a four-year period.
In addition to the financial support their scholarship provides, scholarship recipients will have opportunities to attend industry events organised by DeepMind, receive a travel grant to attend one international research conference per year,and be able to draw on the expertise of a DeepMind mentor.
Building wider participation
A survey undertaken in 2019 by Imperial’s Faculty of Engineering found that 70% of PhD students could not have pursued their studies without the financial support provided by their scholarship. The Department of Computing is committed to lifting barriers to PhD study and has identified doctoral scholarships as an important means of achieving this aim. The DeepMind PhD scholarships will enable more students who could not have afforded further studies to embark on doctoral-level studies in AI.
The new scholarships build on the commitment made by DeepMind to Imperial in 2019, when it funded four MSc scholarships in computing subjects for female or BAME postgraduates.
Eloise Withnell, one of the Department’s first DeepMind scholars, said of her scholarship: “The funding has given me the opportunity to change direction in my career and pursue my passion for computational health sciences. I have been accepted onto a prestigious PhD programme which I would not have had the chance to apply for if it was not for this course and DeepMind’s generous scholarship, as well as the mentorship and workshops DeepMind has organised.”
Professor Nigel Brandon, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, said: “We're delighted DeepMind is extending their generous scholarship funding - we are very grateful for this continued support. The DeepMind Scholarships will have huge impacts on the lives of the students who are selected. We also really appreciate the mentorship opportunities DeepMind has offered to our students, which I know they value very highly. I look forward to continuing our relationship and collaboration with DeepMind in the future, and to seeing our talented students flourish and realise their potential in this exciting and developing area of technology.”
Obum Ekeke, University Relations & Educational Partnerships atDeepMind, said: “It is a great pleasure to build on the scholarships we initiated with Imperial’s Department of Computing last year. By supporting talented students from backgrounds currently underrepresented in AI and machine learning we hope to remove some of the barriers that prevent highly capable students reaching their full potential, and ultimately, we hope to contribute to building a more inclusive and representative AI workforce in the future. We look forward to connecting with all the recipients in the near future.”
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