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Abertay Uni Scholarship to Foster AI Learning for Women and Ethnic Minorities

David Paul

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Abertay Uni Scholarship
The scholarship, running from September 2021, is aiming to target the AI sector’s diversity gap and boost inclusion.

A new Abertay Uni course announced last week will include a scholarship programme for female and ethnic minority applicants.

In a major milestone, Abertay’s MSc Applied Artificial Intelligence and User Experience course will be the first master’s degree to combine AI, UX Research and Psychology in Britain.

Using data and AI to acquire deeper insights into human behaviour and psychology, the new programme will focus on the ethical responsibilities of developing AI applications.

Students will learn to design and interrogate AI systems, as well as gaining a thorough understanding of data techniques and exploring how Psychology and AI principles can be applied to the design of new prototypes.

Commenting on the course, Professor Ruth Falconer, Head of Abertay University’s Division of Games Technology and Mathematics, said: “There is much work to be done if we want to make progress on diversifying the tech sector workforce, and we see these scholarships as a positive step towards encouraging women and people from ethnic minorities into University and the creative and tech industries.

“We will create the next generation of AI talent and our graduates from this new course will recognise the vitally important role of human behaviour in technology use and the use of AI in delivering innovative products and services.”

Dr Andrea Szymkowiak, programme leader on the new course, added: “This exciting new programme will enable students to look at today’s challenges emerging from the use and development of AI and put a human perspective on it.

“Now, more than ever, technology programmes should consider how technology can be used for the benefit of our societies, educate users how to interpret data meaningfully, but also raise awareness of the misuse of the technology.”

Statistics consistently highlight diversity as an ongoing issue for the UK tech sector, with the Tech Nation 2021 report showing just 25% of workers in the industry are female and 15% ethnic minorities.

Additionally, recent SQA stats revealed that the number of females studying computing-related subjects in Scottish schools dropped from nearly 10,000 in 2001 to just under 1,900 last year.


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The University will work in collaboration with the Scottish Funding Council and the European Social Fund/Developing Scotland’s Workforce (DSW) programme, alongside The Data Lab, which will be offering five scholarship opportunities and funding as part of a “commitment” to working towards reducing the sector’s diversity gap.

Marian Dunbar of The Data Lab said: “In addition to a funded scholarship to cover tuition fees, students join a year-long The Data Lab MSc Programme of events, training and workshops designed to support and prepare them for their next career steps.

“These include an opportunity to apply for a paid industrial placement; an industry-sponsored innovation challenge; sector-specific communication and employability training sessions and access to a network of expertise through The Data Lab MSc Alumni and events such as Data Talent.”

Karen Watt, Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council, added: “Scotland’s future technology economy depends on developing talent from every part of society.

“I am delighted that SFC is a joint funder of a scholarship programme designed to make this ground-breaking course more accessible to female and ethnic minority students.”

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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