Prestigious Fellowships to Help UK Researchers Develop Advanced AI Technologies

Pioneering scientists from the United Kingdom, including Professor Christopher Yau from The University of Manchester, will create the most advanced artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, thanks to prestigious fellowships announced recently.

Image Credit: The University of Manchester.

The innovative AI techniques to be developed could have an extensive effect, for instance, by creating digital twins that can help model and understand air pollution, fighting against cancer, and enhancing cybersecurity by developing more transparent and robust AI algorithms.

The Turing AI Acceleration Fellowships, dubbed after AI pioneer Alan Turing and financially supported by government investment of £20million, being delivered by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), have been awarded to 15 researchers to guide creative and innovative AI research with groundbreaking impact.

The goal of Professor Yau is to create innovative, AI-driven predictive models that will enable researchers to describe how cancers progress at the molecular level.

He intends to leverage the fact that cancers, although they are never always identical, usually share similar development courses, which can be understood by collating information from in-depth high-resolution molecular profiles of several types of cancers.

Professor Yau will put together the wide-ranging biological knowledge of cancer within AI models to develop intelligent systems that will generate more realistic predictions, which are interpretable and better describe the evolution of cancers.

This will help enhance the efficiency of drug development and treatment decisions while offering patients with more information related to their illness.

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.

Christopher Yau, Professor, The University of Manchester

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,” added Professor Yau.

The UK is the birthplace of artificial intelligence and we therefore have a duty to arm the next generation of Alan Turings with the tools that will keep the UK at the forefront of this remarkable technological innovation.

Amanda Solloway, Science Minister, UK Government

Solloway added that “Manchester is a hotbed for innovation and the inspiring AI project we are backing today to help identify cancer faster could help to save lives and transform how we live, while cementing the UK’s status as a world leader in AI and data.”

According to Caroline Dinenage, Digital Minister, “The UK is a nation of innovators and this government investment will help our talented academics use cutting-edge technology to improve people’s daily lives—from delivering better disease diagnosis to managing our energy needs.”

The Turing AI Acceleration Fellowships will help expedite and support the careers of a distinct cadre of the most intelligent and best AI researchers, allowing them to turn into world-renowned researchers during the five years of the award tenure. This will, in turn, strengthen and sustain the United Kingdom’s leading international position in AI.

The fellowships will also improve collaboration between industry and academia, since each fellow will bring together an extensive range of collaborators on their projects to expedite the effect of their transformative AI technologies. Already, collaborators have committed to cash and in-kind contributions worth more than £10m.

The Turing AI Acceleration Fellowships constitute the £46 million investment in Turing AI Fellowships, announced in the 2018 Budget after the government’s review of the UK AI industry.

Earlier, five fellowships were awarded and the Turing AI World-Leading Researcher Fellowships call is ongoing. These fellowships form part of a major investment by the government in AI research and skills, which also incorporates 16 UKRI Centres for Doctoral Training in AI announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The Turing AI Fellowships are offered through UKRI’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), in collaboration with the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, Office for AI, and the Alan Turing Institute.

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 these Fellowships will help to maintain and build on the UK’s position as a world leader in AI.

Professor Dame Lynn Gladden, Executive Chair, EPSRC


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