Salford receives chunk of £8m pot for digital student scholarships

Categories: School of Science, Engineering and Environment

Salford University has been awarded a share of an £8.1 million fund aimed at increasing diversity in the AI and data science sector.

This funding, from the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) and Office for Artificial Intelligence (OAI) is being given by the Office for Students (OfS) to universities to deliver the AI and data science scholarships.

Salford will receive £260,000 of the pot for the next financial year, with a further £280,000 for financial year 24-25 to be confirmed by Government, designed to encourage more women, Black students and disabled students to study AI and data science.

Mo Saraee, Professor of Data Science, at the University of Salford, said: “This is great thing, I’d say it was the highlight of my career. It matches my philosophy perfectly, which is to help this most in need. Thanks to this money we will be able to give opportunities in a new era of tech that is life changing for them.

“The other key point is that these skills in data analytics are in huge demand by business so this will help boost the UK economy too. It’s going to bring people who never though they could do it into the field.

“Data science is in demand, lots of jobs require it. We teach them how to become a data scientists in their own field.”

John Blake, director for fair access and participation at the OfS, said: “This funding provides opportunities for students underrepresented in these industries to achieve their career aspirations. This funding builds on the successes of the programme’s recent students, and provides the UK’s data science and AI sector with a wider pool of highly skilled graduates.

“Following a competitive bidding process, we are investing an initial £8.1 million in 30 universities to deliver high quality conversion courses that lead to positive outcomes for students. This funding will enhance the relationships established between universities and employers that are vital for the success of this industry.

“Universities have responded to the various needs of these students, such as offering flexible learning for mature students and for those with caring responsibilities. Early evidence suggests students from the priority groups are successfully completing their courses and connecting with employers. We encourage more employers to get involved to nurture this talent and help train the digital workforce of tomorrow.”

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