DeepMind supports further scholarships for Cambridge students from backgrounds under-represented in Computer Science


21-07-2020
computer laboratory at University of Cambridge

New gift builds on the success of first cohort of DeepMind Cambridge scholars.

The gift from DeepMind will fund up to three one-year Master’s courses and two three-year PhD scholarships in the fields of Computer Science and Machine Learning, These scholarships aim to attract talented postgraduates from the UK and EU who identify as female and/or are of Black or minority ethnic backgrounds, groups who are under-represented in the study of Computer Science.

The DeepMind scholarships can change the lives of students who would not be able to take up the offer of admission without financial assistance.

In addition to financial support, scholarship recipients will have the opportunity to attend industry events organised by DeepMind, receive a travel grant to attend an international research conference, and will be matched with a DeepMind mentor.

"Ensuring that future generations of AI researchers and computer scientists are representative of the world around us is essential if research is to stay relevant and beneficial to the whole of society. By removing some of the financial barriers that prevent people applying to postgraduate study and providing mentoring and pastoral support, we hope the DeepMind scholarship programme will help build an AI community where everyone can participate and thrive - irrespective of their backgrounds.

"I'm delighted to renew our commitment to Cambridge University, and we look forward to welcoming a new cohort of DeepMind scholars in the autumn," said Obum Ekeke, University Relations & Educational Partnerships Lead at DeepMind.

The initial DeepMind Cambridge Scholarship was created in 2018, in conjunction with the Cambridge Trust, who selected the first cohort of scholars from an exceptional field of applicants. DeepMind’s initial gift enabled three outstanding students to undertake a Master’s degree in Advanced Computer Science in the 2019-20 academic year.

“The Cambridge Trust is delighted to be able to offer these important scholarships thanks to the generosity of DeepMind. The scholarships not only make a huge difference to the lives of individual students, they contribute to enriching the diversity of the academic environment at Cambridge,” said Helen Pennant, Director of the Cambridge Trust.

With interests ranging from Natural Language Processing to how to use AI and machine learning for greater social good, they have begun exploring sector-relevant questions, and are poised to make an impact in the field of computer science and wider society. The scholars are deeply grateful for DeepMind’s support, which has allowed them to pursue studies that would otherwise not have been possible.

Inaugural DeepMind Scholar Claire Coffey commented: ‘I am incredibly grateful for the DeepMind scholarship; without it, I would not have been able to pursue the MPhil. It has provided me with the necessary skills and experience for a hopeful future research career. It also opened my eyes to new areas of computer science, in particular, the fairness of machine learning and artificial intelligence systems, which I plan to explore further in my PhD. I was able to build connections with fellow DeepMind Scholars and a wonderful mentor, from whom I gained valuable advice and insights.  The programme has helped make me feel accepted and part of a community.’

Professor Ann Copestake, Head of the Department of Computer Science and Technology said, “The Department is committed to increasing diversity among students and staff.  The scholarships from DeepMind are playing a significant role in attracting a more diverse cohort of talented students to our MPhil in Advanced Computer Science course, regardless of their financial circumstances.  These students broaden our perspectives within the Department now and will go on to help diversify the creation and ethical application of Machine Learning in the wider world.”

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The University of Cambridge is acknowledged as one of the world's leading higher education and research institutions. The University was instrumental in the formation of the Cambridge Network and its Vice- Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope, is also the President of the Cambridge Network.

University of Cambridge (cam.ac.uk)