DeepMind renews its commitment to UCL

Global leading artificial intelligence company DeepMind has renewed its support of Master’s level scholarships in UCL’s Department of Computer Science.

The scholarships are the fourth cohort supported by DeepMind, highlighting the long-standing relationship between the two organisations. They are open to students from backgrounds underrepresented in the sector, including women, those of African or Caribbean heritage and those from low-income families.

Professor David Barber (UCL Computer Science) said: "DeepMind’s continuing commitment provides much needed support to train a new generation of students and helps maintain a healthy independent AI research provision in the UK.

"I’m delighted that DeepMind have been unfailingly generous in backing our efforts to create a unique environment at UCL in which students and researchers have the freedom and support to address some of the most challenging issues in creating an AI driven future that will benefit us all."

The announcement comes as the inaugural DeepMind Chair in Artificial Intelligence took up the post at the start of October. Professor Marc Deisenroth, who joined UCL from Imperial College London, is a recipient of a Google Faculty Research Award and a Microsoft PhD Grant. He specialises in data-efficient machine learning, probabilistic modelling and autonomous decision making, and will spearhead AI research at UCL.

Professor Deisenroth said: "UCL has a long history of outstanding research and teaching in AI, and I’m very excited to strengthen such a fantastic teaching and research environment. My new role also enables me to better support the wider machine learning community in London and the UK.

"My vision for the Chair is to address one of the most pressing challenges in AI right now, which is learning and decision making when data is scarce. I’m very grateful to DeepMind for their ongoing and generous support that will allow me to turbocharge research in foundational AI and its application to global challenges, such as climate science, healthcare and autonomous robots."

Lila Ibrahim, COO of DeepMind, said: "At DeepMind we want to build advanced AI to expand our knowledge and find answers to some of the fundamental questions facing society. It’s an ambitious and long-term goal, and we will only achieve it if we can bring people together with different experiences, knowledge, and backgrounds.

"We need as many perspectives as possible to make sure the important questions are being asked when it matters. The DeepMind scholarship programme is one way we seek to broaden participation in science and AI. I’m delighted that DeepMind is supporting another cohort of DeepMind scholars at UCL."

DeepMind are also supporting PhD scholarships at the newly established AI Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT), 50% of which will be ring-fenced for students from underrepresented backgrounds.

DeepMind was founded by Demis Hassabis, Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman in 2010, after Demis, who had recently completed his PhD in neuroscience at the university, met research associate Shane in UCL’s Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit. The company has retained its strong connection with UCL throughout its development.

In September 2019, Professor Geraint Rees, Pro-Vice-Provost (AI) launched UCL’s AI strategy: AI for People and Planet detailing how it should be used as a transformative technology to make a positive impact on the planet.

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