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UK Government give £20M funding boost to AI research

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Today the UK government has announced the awardees of the Turing AI Acceleration Fellowships. The 15 Fellows, whose projects encompass a spectrum of AI innovations across science and engineering, will benefit from £20 million of government funding in a bid to “equip the next generation of Alan Turings with the tools that will keep the UK at the forefront of this remarkable technological innovation,” says Science Minister Amanda Solloway.

WHY IT MATTERS

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The Fellowships are intended to provide elected Fellows with the necessary resources to accelerate the research and development of their innovative AI projects, in order to scale market uptake, address some of today’s most pressing challenges and cement the UK’s position as a world-leader in AI.

The scheme is funded jointly by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) on behalf of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), The Alan Turing Institute, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Office for Artificial Intelligence.

The 15 Fellows will be funded for five years and will join the five Turing AI Fellows that were announced in 2019 and the winners of the Turing AI World-Leading Researcher Fellowships, to be announced in 2021. They include Prof. Christopher Yao, who will use a combination of AI and genomics to anticipate the development of cancers before they are fully formed, potentially informing personalised care plans and enabling earlier and more effective treatment.

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The full list of Fellows is as follows:         

  • Professor Damien Coyle, University of Ulster – AI for Intelligent Neurotechnology and Human-Machine Symbiosis
  • Dr Jeff Dalton, University of Glasgow – Neural Conversational Information Seeking Assistant
  • Dr Theo Damoulas, University of Warwick – Machine Learning Foundations of Digital Twins
  • Professor Aldo Faisal, Imperial College – Reinforcement Learning for Healthcare
  • Professor Yulan He, University of Warwick – Event-Centric Framework for Natural Language Understanding
  • Dr Jose Miguel Hernandez Lobato, University of Cambridge – Machine Learning for Molecular Design
  • Dr Antonio Hurtado, University of Strathclyde – PHOTONics for Ultrafast Artificial Intelligence
  • Dr Per Lehre, University of Birmingham – Rigorous Time-Complexity Analysis of Co-evolutionary Algorithms
  • Professor Giovanni Montana, University of Warwick – Advancing Multi-Agent Deep Reinforcement Learning for Sequential Decision Making in Real-World Applications
  • Dr Christopher Nemeth, Lancaster University: Probabilistic Algorithms for Scalable and Computable Approaches to Learning (PASCAL)
  • Dr Raul Santos-Rodriguez, University of Bristol – Interactive Annotations in AI
  • Dr Sebastian Stein, University of Southampton – Citizen-Centric AI Systems
  • Dr Ivan Tyukin, University of Leicester – Adaptive, Robust and Resilient AI Systems for the FuturE
  • Dr Adrian Weller, University of Cambridge – Trustworthy Machine Learning
  • Professor Christopher Yau, The University of Manchester – clinAIcan – Developing Clinical Applications of Artificial Intelligence for Cancer
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THE LARGER TREND

This new round of investment follows the UK government’s recent commitment to supporting and progressing AI skills and research, including courses to train the next generation of AI frontrunners. It is part of a wider scheme of R&D support.

It is in keeping with the increased support of AI in healthcare. Research has shown that, as COVID-19 pushed AI more into the mainstream, the health industry has more confidence in it as an investment opportunity and has predicted it will be more readily adopted moving forward.

ON THE RECORD

EPSRC Executive Chair Professor Dame Lynn Gladden said: “The Turing AI Acceleration Fellowships will support some of our leading researchers to progress their careers and develop ground-breaking AI technologies with societal impact. By enhancing collaboration between academia and industry and accelerating these transformative technologies they will help to maintain and build on the UK’s position as a world leader in AI.” 

Professor Yau commented: “I am very excited to have been awarded this Fellowship which will enable me to conduct ground-breaking research at the intersection of genomics and artificial intelligence. Genomics will yield unprecedented amounts of data which necessitate the use of AI for their interpretation. I will be developing novel clinical information systems to provide cancer patients and clinicians with the very best genomics-guided personalised care to improve treatment effectiveness and survival rates. I am especially pleased to be working with a range of project partners, including Ovarian Cancer Action, to ensure that my research is conducted in partnership with patients.”

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