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School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science

Further DeepMind Scholarships to encourage more women and BAME students in AI at Queen Mary

Leading British artificial intelligence (AI) company DeepMind has renewed its support for under-represented students pursuing postgraduate studies in AI at the Institute of Coding (IoC) at Queen Mary, University of London, following the success of its inaugural scholarships for female students in 2019. 

Queen Mary students in discussion sitting around a table

The significant donation from DeepMind will be used by Queen Mary to continue and extend the DeepMind Scholarship programme it launched with the company in 2019. During the academic year 2020/2021, the DeepMind Scholarships will be awarded to women and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) students living in the UK who are currently under-represented in the field of AI. Five scholarships will go to students who wish to study on the University’s MSc in AI programme and three scholarships will be for students to undertake a PhD in Machine Learning or Artificial Intelligence.

Four female students benefited from the DeepMind Scholarships in 2019, which covered their tuition fees and provided a living allowance, making full time study possible. DeepMind scholar Gloriose Hitimana said that ‘I was working in order to save enough money to pay for my studies. Receiving the scholarship, it eased up the stress on me and helped me focus on my studies better. In addition, DeepMind provided workshops and mentors to help me prepare for my career in the AI field’.

Isobel Bates, IoC Programme Manager at Queen Mary said that ‘Queen Mary is delighted to receive another significant gift from DeepMind to continue our valued scholarship programme. Queen Mary, in partnership with the IoC and the Office for AI, is determined to do its part to break down the barriers that discourage women and BAME students from digital education and careers. The DeepMind Scholarship programme is playing a key role in helping us address the under-representation of women and BAME students in the field by encouraging participation in the subject at postgraduate level.’

Queen Mary’s AI masters programme is supported by IoC and forms part of the AI Industrial Master’s programme that is being led by government’s Office for AI. The IoC is a national government-supported initiative that is bringing together employers, educators, outreach groups and professional bodies to respond to the UK’s digital skills gap.

The government’s Office for AI is working alongside the IoC and BCS, the Chartered Institute of IT, to deliver the Industrial Master’s programme for Artificial Intelligence (IMAI). A world-first industry and government collaboration, the programme is working to develop the next generation of AI experts in the UK. Working in partnership between universities and major corporations and the broad-spectrum of AI-based industry partners, the programme aims to boost the numbers of highly qualified AI experts and help give the UK’s tech industry the talent it needs to thrive in the future.

Obum Ekeke, University Relations and Educational Partnerships at DeepMind said that, ‘At DeepMind we want to build advanced AI to expand our knowledge and find answers to some of the fundamental scientific questions facing society. It's an ambitious goal, and to achieve it we need a strong, diverse and inclusive AI community. The DeepMind scholarship programme is one way we seek to broaden participation in science and AI. By removing some of the financial barriers that prevent people applying to postgraduate study, and providing mentoring and pastoral support we hope to help build an AI community where everyone can participate and thrive - irrespective of their backgrounds.

I’m delighted we’re able to support another cohort of DeepMind scholars at Queen Mary University London, particularly at such a critical time for the education sector.’

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