18 universities win funding for AI and data science conversion courses

The higher education providers have received the funding to help address skills shortages in AI and data science

18 universities across the UK have won an Office for Students (OfS) competition to receive funding to develop postgraduate conversion courses in AI and data science.

The government announced in 2019 that it would support the development of degree conversion courses to help address the shortage of AI and data specialists in the UK.

In January 2020, the Office for Students (OfS) launched a competition inviting HE providers to develop and implement the postgraduate schemes, which it hopes will attract as many as 2,500 graduates by 2023.

The successful providers will now share over £3 million from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Office for Artificial Intelligence (OAI) as well as £10 million worth of funding for scholarships to support students from underrepresented groups – particularly female students, black students and students with disabilities.

The aim of the new conversion courses is to respond to the shortage of data science and AI specialists in the UK and boost the number of graduates entering these fields over the next three years.

The government’s Digital Strategy predicts that 90% of all jobs will require some element of digital skills within 20 years.

It is clear that these skills are of fundamental importance now more than ever before

The full list of higher education providers to receive funding to develop postgraduate conversion courses in data science and artificial intelligence is as follows:

Birmingham City University

Brunel University London

Coventry University

Loughborough University

Nottingham Trent University

Sheffield Hallam University

Solent University

Teesside University

University of Birmingham

University of Bradford

University of Essex

University of Hull

University of Keele

University of Liverpool

University of Newcastle upon Tyne

University of Suffolk

University of Sussex

University of Wolverhampton

Loughborough University’s pro vice-chancellor for teaching, Professor Rachel Thomson said: “It is clear that these skills are of fundamental importance now more than ever before, and will continue to be in the future.

“We are excited to build on the opportunities and communities around both our Loughborough and London campuses to offer this flexible degree programme, providing greater reach and accessibility to students so we can deliver graduates to businesses in need.

“We have designed the programme content in consultation with industry and business stakeholders, and also involved our undergraduate student body in co-creating its content.

“We are committed to creating an inclusive atmosphere in which all students – from diverse backgrounds and with different skillsets – are encouraged to reach their maximum potential and succeed in their future careers.”


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