UiB to focus on training future leaders in artificial intelligence

29 Jun 2023 | Network Updates | Update from University of Bergen
These updates are republished press releases and communications from members of the Science|Business Network

The University of Bergen (UiB) will announce 19 postdoctoral positions related to the research and career development programme LEAD AI.  The postdocs will have a joint interdisciplinary training arena thanks to the NOK 33 million support from the EU through the co-financing scheme COFUND Postdoctoral Programmes under Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions.

"The grant from the EU underlines the strength of the interdisciplinary expertise in artificial intelligence at UiB," says Deputy Rector Pinar Heggernes, who also heads the steering committee for UiB AI

Employs experienced researchers from different fields

LEAD AI will offer a unique interdisciplinary program for nineteen experienced researchers who are or want to become experts in artificial intelligence. The researchers will be recruited from fields such as computer science, earth science, medicine, law, psychology, information science and the humanities. The program starts in 2024 and lasts for five years.

The research opportunities range from basic AI research for the relevant disciplines to more applied research in the natural sciences and medicine, and issues such as the interaction between AI, people and society with legal and ethical challenges.

UiB will recruit both local and international researchers and employ them in postdoctoral positions for 3-4 years. International mobility is an important element of the programme. UiB will collaborate with research institutions in other countries and with partners in relevant sectors in Western Norway.

Gathered research positions from across the university

In the autumn of 2022, UiB AI conducted a survey of planned activity in artificial intelligence at various academic communities at the university. It emerged that six out of seven faculties planned to advertise a total of nineteen postdoctoral positions related to AI during 2024-2025. Based on this, the steering group for UiB AI started work on an application for EU funding for a joint, interdisciplinary programme.

"We are very pleased that we have now received EU funding to support these postdocs and facilitate joint activities for them across disciplines," says Heggernes.

LEAD AI will not only strengthen the competence of postdoctoral fellows, the entire university will be strengthened in this field by inviting young researchers regardless of discipline to the programme's common arenas for research on artificial intelligence, the Deputy Rector points out.

Many positive effects

LEAD AI will leverage UiB's unique interdisciplinary strength in artificial intelligence research and provide researchers with both the academic expertise and the broad knowledge of AI research necessary to develop reliable and ethical AI that benefits society.

The programme will also promote institutional change and cutting-edge research on AI, while providing researchers with unique research and training opportunities, personalized guidance, and excellent working conditions.

Good evaluation results

The COFUND application has received very good evaluations from the European Commission. The feedback from the panel that has assessed the application states that the project proposal "well supports Norway's open approach to digitalisation, and will deliver employees to the region".

They also point out that the programme will make the University of Bergen, Bergen municipality and cooperation in the City of Knowledge Bergen more attractive.

The feedback also states that LEAD AI "offers a very good quality of research options including strong potential for interdisciplinary research engagement" and that interdisciplinary researh options are well supported by formal and informal networking events, interdisciplinary co-supervision, and opportunities to work with interdisciplinary centers.

Rector Margareth Hagen is very pleased that UiB is now becoming even stronger in the field of artificial intelligence:
"I am proud of what we have achieved through UiB AI in a short time, thanks to joint enthusiasm and efforts across our skilled AI communities."

This article was first published on 27 June by University of Bergen.

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