The University’s flagship UNIQ+ graduate access programme for students from disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds will expand further in 2022 thanks to a generous donation from leading British artificial intelligence company DeepMind. The support is enabling the creation of 12 new research internships in the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning, adding to the programme’s current offering of around 120 placements.
Launched in 2019, UNIQ+ provides talented individuals from underrepresented and disadvantaged groups with a real day-to-day experience of postgraduate research at Oxford.
Participants undertake a paid summer research internship, attend lectures and training sessions, and receive information on how to apply for graduate study and funding – all with the aim of helping them to build confidence and skills that will enhance both their CV and any future postgraduate applications.
Thanks to support from DeepMind, the University is now able to offer an additional 12 internships on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) projects as part of the programme. Research projects are available across many aspects of modern AI and ML, and hosted by research groups across the University’s Departments of Computer Science, Engineering, Statistics and the Mathematical Institute.
The programme aims to diversify access into graduate study but also, longer-term, into professions where graduate study may be required
Dr Nadia Pollini
Each new internship will run for ten weeks, enabling participants to gain additional experience that will help to bridge the gap between undergraduate study and AI/ML postgraduate research programmes.
The enhanced programme will give students the chance to undertake longer research projects that could result in workshop or conference publications – an outcome that would significantly strengthen any future applications they make to competitive postgraduate courses.
UNIQ+ DeepMind interns will also have the opportunity to improve their research skills, receive support and mentoring from Oxford research scientists and doctoral students, and find out more about postgraduate study and careers in AI and ML.
It is hoped that the new programme will create a strong cohort of students within the wider UNIQ+ group who can share their experiences of working in AI/ML and grow in confidence together. Participants will receive a scholarship stipend and free-of-charge accommodation in Oxford, as well as funds to cover travel expenses, research equipment and related social activities.
Dr Nadia Pollini, Director of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment at the University of Oxford, said: ‘I am delighted that we will now be able to offer additional UNIQ+ places in AI/ML thanks to DeepMind.
'The UNIQ+ graduate access programme, which has been one of its kind in the UK, has expanded steadily since its creation in 2019 despite the challenges of the pandemic.
'The programme aims to diversify access into graduate study but also, longer-term, into professions where graduate study may be required. The UNIQ+ DeepMind internships represent a step further in this direction.’
DeepMind was established in London in 2010 and is now a world leader in artificial intelligence research and its application for positive impact. This latest donation is part of a wider initiative by the company to broaden participation in science, which also includes the provision of ongoing support for graduate scholarships in the Department of Computer Science.