Southampton University has been awarded a £15 million grant from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to establish a new training center for PhD students in artificial intelligence (AI) for sustainability. The AI Centre for Doctoral Training in AI for Sustainability, known as SustAI, will train at least 70 PhD students in sustainable AI with a focus on renewable energy, carbon emissions reduction, and healthcare improvement. The funding package includes £8 million from UKRI. The aim of the center is to nurture the next generation of researchers, engineers, and technologists who will use AI to create a sustainable future.
Professor Enrico Gerding, the director of SustAI, stated that environmental sustainability is one of the greatest challenges facing the world, and many countries are setting ambitious targets to reduce emissions and increase renewable energy production. He emphasized that AI will be crucial in achieving these targets, and through SustAI, students will be trained to use AI to tackle sustainability issues.
The announcement of the £15 million SustAI center comes as part of the UK’s efforts to become a leading force in AI and technology. The funding follows a previous award of £31 million from UKRI to Southampton University to establish the Responsible AI UK consortium, which aims to develop trustworthy AI.
The SustAI team at Southampton University believes that sustainability is at the heart of the center’s research and ethos. They aim to equip students with the skills to transform academic research and make a real impact on businesses and society.
In addition to the SustAI center, UKRI has announced funding for ten other training facilities across Britain, as part of a £117 million package aimed at developing AI in various sectors. UKRI’s chief executive, Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, highlighted the importance of nurturing talented individuals and teams to apply AI to a range of challenges, ensuring its responsible and trustworthy adoption.
Applications for students to enroll in the University of Southampton’s SustAI center will open soon, with the academic year set to commence in 2024.
This news highlights the growing recognition of AI’s potential in addressing sustainability challenges and the commitment of Southampton University to play a leading role in developing AI for a sustainable future. The SustAI center will contribute to nurturing talent and expertise in the field of sustainable AI, ultimately driving advancements in renewable energy, carbon reduction, and healthcare.