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Creating future AI and Data Analytics visionaries

University of Bradford has been awarded £700,000 by the Office for Students (OfS) for new innovative programme design and funded scholarships for AI and Data Analytics PG conversion course.

This new and exciting project originated in the nationwide Challenge Grant Funding Competition to develop innovative postgraduate conversion courses in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Science (DS), launched in 2019 by OfS, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), and the Office for Artificial Intelligence (OAI) as part of their response to the government’s initiative to help address the shortage of AI and DS specialists in the UK.

As supporters of the bid, the University of Bradford has been awarded £700,000 to support skills development amongst under-represented sections of the community in the area of Applied AI and DS, wherein the amount of £600,000 is dedicated specifically to scholarships.

A significant number of students on the course will be drawn from historically under-represented groups, and students from areas identified as traditionally low participation groups. This focus is integral to the University's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion values.

Professor Zahir Irani, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic, Innovation and Quality) who led the bid, said "As the University of and for Bradford, we recognise the significant social and economic challenges of our region. We will therefore be working with key collaborators to remove the barriers to higher education and to graduate level employment, which students from our target underrepresented groups face’

This project is backed by industry heavyweights, including Amazon Web Services (AWS) Academy, UK Black Tech, and SAS UK, among others.

Co-founder of UK Black Tech Mark Martin MBE said "The announcement of these scholarships will definitely enhance the tech landscape within the region and help to prepare our next generation to tackle some of the challenges that they will face. Also, it's important we encourage more talent from different backgrounds to access these opportunities so we can develop better tech tools, services and organisations that reflect us all."

The project is led by Zahir Iran, with team members Jo Beaumont, Orshi Atkinson, Charles Vincent, and Sankar Sivarajah.

This conversion course will enable students to become competent, confident and creative independent data modellers and interpreters, being able to select appropriate artificial intelligence and data science tools for a given business-driven problem and perform analysis that can feed into managerial data-driven decision-making. We will be helping to create the visionaries of tomorrow.  Professor Zahir Irani, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Academic, Innovation, Quality)