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Edinburgh Law School to co-lead a centre for doctoral training in artificial intelligence funded by UKRI

Tue 7 November 2023

Gavel next to a laptop

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has announced that it has invested £117 million in 12 UKRI Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) in artificial intelligence (AI), one of which will be co-led by the Edinburgh Law School in collaboration with the School of Informatics, Edinburgh College of Art, and the Schools of Mathematics and Psychology, Philosophy and Language Sciences. 

The UKRI AI CDT in Responsible and Trustworthy in-the-world natural language processing involves a programme of doctoral training examining the opportunities and challenges posed by cutting edge natural language AI systems, such as personal assistants, chatbots and generative AI. The Centre will focus on what happens when such technologies leave the lab and when they are deployed in the world around us. Students will be trained across the technical, social, design, and legal aspects of these systems. They will be learning how to collaborate across diverse teams who understand the importance and intricacies of responsibly developing, deploying, and overseeing use of such systems in the real world. 

Dr Lachlan Urquhart, Co-Investigator and Law School Lead of this CDT said: “Novel NLP technologies are raising difficult legal and design challenges as they are deployed in the real world. Generative AI poses new questions for privacy, copyright, human rights, and design processes. Emerging European legislation is changing the regulatory landscape too, bringing formal requirements around how to manage these risks and build more trustworthy AI. It is critical we train the next generation of interdisciplinary researchers and innovators who can navigate the boundaries between complex socio-technical risks, design choices, and legal issues, in what is a very fast-moving domain.”

The overall Centre Director, Professor John Vines, Chair of Design Informatics, has said “A core part of our training is on how issues of inclusion and exclusion are baked into the history of AI, and introducing students to state-of-the-art participatory and co-creative methodologies so they are ready to involve diverse users in the earliest stages of application design.” 

The first group of UKRI AI CDT students will start in the 2024/2025 academic year, physically hosted in the new Edinburgh Futures Institute. These CDTs aim to train the next generation of interdisciplinary AI researchers and push the AI revolution forward in a responsible manner. 

UKRI AI CDTs at the University of Edinburgh