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Government backs Alan Turing AI fellowships


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The Alan Turing Institute has awarded AI acceleration fellowships to 15 specialists in the field backed by a £20 million cash injection from the  Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The awards, which involve providing resources to support the relevant work, show a strong but not exclusive emphasis on healthcare projects, and are aimed at helping to deal with various challenges and transform sectors of the UK economy also including energy and transport.

BEIS highlighted an award to Professor Christopher Yau at the University of Manchester, who aims to use artificial intelligence to predict the development of cancer before it has fully formed in the body. This could help clinicians decide at an earlier stage on the right treatment for patients.

Another has been made to Professor Aldo Faisal at Imperial College London, who is working on the development of an ‘AI clinical colleague’ for doctors which will be able to make recommendations on clinical interventions. The technology will use reinforcement learning, a form of machine learning that trains Ais to make decisions and could be used in other regulated sectors such as aerospace and energy.

DR and energy

Among the non-medical researchers to receive fellowships is Dr Sebastian Stein at the University of Southampton, who is developing and trialling citizen-centric AI systems for a range of applications, from using crowdsourced information to assist in disaster response to helping people to manage their energy needs. The technology could also help to provide advice and medical support during epidemics like Covid-19.

Three academics from the University of Warwick – Dr Theo Damoulas, Professor Yulan He and Professor Giovanni Montana – have also won support to establish the machine learning foundations for digital twins, which are being used in fields such as urban planning.

The fellowships are part of the Government’s AI Sector Deal.

Science Minister Amanda Solway said: “The UK is the birthplace of artificial intelligence and we have a duty to equip the next generation of Alan Turings with the tools that will keep the UK at the forefront of this remarkable technological innovation.

“The inspirational fellows we are backing today will use AI to tackle some of our greatest challenges head on, transforming how people live, work and communicate, cementing the UK’s status as a world leader in AI and data.”

Image from CC BY 2.0

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