Cardiff academic joins UK’s AI Council

A leading Cardiff University academic is to join the AI Council - an independent expert committee helping to supercharge the UK’s artificial intelligence sector.

Pete Burnap, Professor of Data Science & Cybersecurity, will work with a group of around 20 experts from industry, academia and data rights organisations.

They will put in place skills, data and ethics to help the UK make the most of AI technologies.

The line-up includes Professor Sir Mark Walport, Chief Executive of UK Research and Innovation; online-only retailer Ocado’s Chief Technology Officer, Paul Clarke; Member of the Independent Commission on Freedom of Information Dame Patricia Hodgson, and Alan Turing Institute Chief Executive, Professor Adrian Smith.

Pete Burnap, who is also Director of the Airbus Centre of Excellence in Cybersecurity Analytics, said: “I’m delighted to be joining such an illustrious body of leaders in AI.

“Council members are already leading the way in the development of technologies. Ocado is using AI to revolutionise its factory floors, predict demand, and personalise shopping, all in a secure and safe manner. And the Alan Turing Institute is identifying and overcoming barriers of AI adoption in society, such as skills, consumer trust and ensuring the protection of sensitive data.

“Last year, Cardiff was recognised as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research (ACE-CSR), with a core focus on the interdisciplinary fusion of AI, cybersecurity and risk. And in 2017, Cardiff partnered with Airbus to launch the Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Analytics - the first of its kind in Europe.

Professor Kim Graham, Cardiff University Pro Vice-Chancellor Research, Innovation and Enterprise, said: “I am delighted that Professor Burnap has joined this prestigious and independent panel, convened by government. Artificial intelligence and data is one of the UK’s four Grand Challenges, and Cardiff University has considerable strengths in the application of AI across different business sectors. I am sure Professor Burnap’s research knowledge and leadership in one of those areas, cybersecurity analytics, will be of immense value to the AI Council, ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of the AI and data revolution.”

The news of new council members comes as UK Government celebrates the first anniversary of the AI Sector Deal as part of the modern Industrial Strategy - a billion-pound joint government and industry deal to put the nation at the forefront of emerging technologies and realise the full potential of AI to the economy.

Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright announced the Council line-up at the Vivatech Summit in Paris.

“Britain is already a leading authority in AI. We are home to some of the world’s finest academic institutions, landing record levels of investment to the sector and attracting the best global tech talent, but we must not be complacent,” said the Minister.

“Through our AI Council we will continue this momentum by leveraging the knowledge of experts from a range of sectors to provide leadership on the best use and adoption of artificial intelligence across the economy.”

Since its launch in 2018, the AI Sector Deal has established the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, announced 16 new Centres for Doctoral Training at universities across the UK (including Cardiff) to deliver 1,000 new PhDs over the next five years, and developed the first wave of industry funding for new AI Masters places at leading UK institutions.


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