Underrepresented student boost with £400,000 AI funding
The University of Bradford has been awarded £400,000 to boost home postgraduate students wanting to pursue careers in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data science.
Bradford has the most AI/data science graduates in the UK, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency. But such is the shortage of jobs in the data analytics and applied AI sector, students are often landing roles before they graduate.
The funding that the University of Bradford has received is part of an £8.1m investment by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology and has been awarded by the Office for Students (OfS). The University of Bradford is one of 25 Universities which have been handed the funding boost for the 2023-24 academic year. The £8.1m funding will help up to 818 more students access a scholarship on an AI or data science conversion course.
The £10,000 scholarships aim to encourage more women, black students, disabled students and those from lower socio-economic backgrounds into the technology industry. These groups of students are significantly underrepresented in these types of courses, and in AI and data science industries. Bradford’s scholarships include a three-month placement guaranteed at the end of the programme for each student.
This is the second cycle of funding for the AI and data science scholarships at Bradford with 80 places allocated in four rounds of 20 between September 2023 and January 2025. A first cycle of funding saw 60 scholarships completed between September 2020 and September 2023.
The next round of scholarships, featuring 20 student places, for MSc in Applied Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics is still open for student applications. The deadline for applications is 15 January 2024. Go to bradford.ac.uk/scholarships/office-for-students-funded-scholarship-for-msc-in-applied-artificial-intelligence-and-data-analytics-january-2024-intake-2023-24 for more information.
Previous grants to the University of Bradford included £800,000 in 2020/21 and £600,000 in 2022/23.
Professor Zahir Irani, Deputy Vice-Chancellor from the University of Bradford, pictured above, who is the Institutional lead for AI and responsible for overseeing the growth of AI across the University, said: “I am delighted that the University of Bradford has secured this significant funding to help us deliver scholarships for those looking to enter a career in AI and data science, in particular.
It will help to make these courses, and the industry as a whole, more widely representative
“The scholarship aligns well with the University’s commitment to social mobility, particularly after we have now been ranked first on the Higher Education Policy Unit’s Social Mobility Index for three successive years.
“We as a University want everyone to realise their full potential, and these scholarships will help underrepresented students open doors to their desired field, which they may have felt were previously closed to them.”
Dr Kamran Mahroof, pictured above, Associate Professor of Supply Chain Analytics and Programme Leader for the MSc in the Applied Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics programme, at the University of Bradford, School of Management, says the funding will provide a huge boost.
He said: “Due to skills shortages in this field, there is a real need to upskill and grow the UK’s AI workforce and we are happy at Bradford that we are taking the lead on that.
“We are upskilling people from underrepresented communities, from non-technical and technical backgrounds. This is now the second round of funding. It’s nice as it shows that what we have done is having an impact and is being recognised. I think it is very important that we are a university embedded in our community and this funding further illustrates that.”
It is the latest boost to the university from the OfS. In October 2023, the university was awarded silver status for its teaching by the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) which aims to encourage higher education providers to improve and deliver excellence in teaching, learning and achieving positive outcomes from student’s studies.
The School of Management is celebrating its 60th anniversary throughout 2023. A number of events have taken place to mark the milestone, including a management lecture by Merel Olgers, who graduated from the School of Management in 2010 and is now Director of People and Culture at Universal Music Group.
The School of Management also has the triple-crown of accreditations - Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), Association of MBAs (AMBA) and European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS). Less than one per cent of business schools worldwide hold these prestigious accreditations.
Meanwhile, AI has received backing from the UK Government in recent months including Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announcing a £500 million investment in AI compute as part of his Autumn Statement in November 2023.
The investment over two years is part of an expansion of the AI Research Resource, which aims to give a boost to UK scientists and AI researchers. The Government also hosted an AI safety summit in October 2023, which was attended by Elon Musk, owner of Tesla and X, formerly Twitter.