2024 Studentships

The UKRI AI Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Responsible and Trustworthy in-the-world Natural Language Processing is open to Expressions of Interest for studentships starting in September 2024 for our new Designing Responsible NLP integrated PhD training programme.

The deadline for applications is midnight (GMT) on the 11th March 2024.

We will be interviewing candidates at the end of March and early April 2024, and will inform successful applicants of their offers by mid-April 2024.

The application portal is now open – please visit the How to Apply page to access this and find information on how to complete the form.

If you would also to recieve email updates from the CDT team, please complete our Expression of Interest form.

We are aiming to recruit all our students for the 2024 studentships in this deadline, and especially encourage students that will require visas and ATAS approval to apply for this deadline.

About our training programme

Our students will gain the skills, knowledge and experience to study and design real-world applications of NLP in a highly interdisciplinary training environment, hosted by the new Edinburgh Futures Institute. The training programme brings together world leading researchers at the University of Edinburgh in informatics, design, linguistics, speech science, psychology, law, philosophy, information science and digital humanities, who will supervise students and guide them in their training and learning.

The CDT will be seeking to fund approximately 10-12 studentships in each cohort, with the ambition to create cohorts of students that come from different backgrounds and disciplines. We are looking for applicants with a background in or related to:

  • Computer science, informatics and artificial intelligence
  • Design, human computer interaction and human centred computing
  • Language, linguistics and speech sciences
  • Law, governance and regulation
  • Digital humanities and information science

These are just indicative, and we are interested in applicants who come from any background or discipline with relevant skills and expertise that connect to our five Skills Domains.

As well as the below information, please also look at the following links if you’re interested in applying:

What will being a student in our CDT be like?

Widening academic skillsets: The training programme is a four year PhD with “integrated training” – this means during the four years of the PhD you will be taking credit-bearing courses at the University of Edinburgh to develop specific skills related to researching and creating real-world NLP applications that are responsible and trustworthy by design.

Some of these courses are mandatory for all students in a cohort to take together, and will cover topics such as: research methods related to studying responsible NLP; working in interdisciplinary teams with partners; the ethical dimensions of data and AI; how to analyse real-world applications of NLP, and conducting your first individual research project.

Beyond this, at the start of your PhD you will also be guided through a training needs analysis – this will identify which of our Skills Domains you’d like to develop specialist and more foundational skills in. Then, during the first 2-3 years of your PhD, we will guide you to take additional courses from across the University related to these areas for you to further develop these skills. This will primarily consist of courses from our School of Informatics, School of Philosophy, Psychology & Language Sciences, Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh Law School, and the Edinburgh Futures Institute.

Public and industry engagement: You will also have opportunities to develop public engagement and communication skills (including sharing your work in an annual CDT festival associated with the Edinburgh Science Festival), to develop skills in working with other students coming from very different backgrounds, and to work with some of our 70+ CDT Partners. There will also be periods during your PhD where you can go on placement at a partner, experience a paid internship (for non-UK students this will be dependent on visa requirements), and apply for additional training related to start a business, a social enterprise, or developing policy in government based on your PhD work.

Being part of a world-leading community: On top of all this, in the day-to-day of the CDT you will be physically based with your fellow CDT students in our brand new flagship facility the Edinburgh Futures Institute. Here you will be co-located with a number of other AI CDTs and high-profiles research programmes (such as BRAID and the new Generative AI Lab), and with many of the CDT Partners who have a base within the building.

Benefits for CDT students

  • Fully funded 4-year studentship, covering tuition fees, stipend (this is £18,622 in 2023/24 but will be slightly higher for 2024/25) and funding for travel/research support. 
  • Supervision from at least two supervisors from different disciplines, based in world-leading research groups, labs and units across the University of Edinburgh.
  • Interdisciplinary training programme with a focus on team collaboration and working on real-world project contexts with external partners.
  • Opportunities for placements and internships with our 70+ CDT partners.
  • Tailored training in public engagement, start-up and social enterprise creation, leadership skills, and responsible and ethical AI and NLP.
  • Wide variety of CDT events throughout the year, including seminar series, masterclasses, summer school, conferences, guest lectures and industry days.
  • Being embedded in the vibrant world-class and interdisciplinary research community within the Edinburgh Futures Institute, and access to cutting edge computational, design, fabrication and testing, facilities across the School of Informatics, Edinburgh College of Art and EPCC.
  • Opportunities to connect and collaborate with students at the University of Edinburgh’s CDTs, including the new CDT in Biomedical Innovation and the Centre for Technomoral Futures PhD Fellows.

Minimum requirements for applicants

We expect successful applicants will have at least a 2:1 (upper second class) Undergraduate and/or a Master’s degree in a relevant subject to the focus of the CDT (see list above). We also welcome applicants who do not meet these requirements, but can demonstrate suitability for the training programme based on extensive professional experience or from working in research posts.

How to apply

For this CDT, we are not asking for detailed research proposals, or for students to have a confirmed supervisor in advance – instead we ask applicants to tell us about their background, their research ideas in relation to the Skills Domains, and to identify a number of potential supervisors they could work with. We have provided the following resources to help with the development of applications:

We also held two webinars for potential applicants on the 12th and 13th February. These provided a briefing on the CDT and training programme, and a Q&A session. These webinars have already happened, but you can view the recordings of them here: https://www.responsiblenlp.org/applicant-webinars/

Finally, if you wish to indicate your interest in applying for the new CDT and recieve updates related to progress, please complete the Expression of Interest form accessed via the link below.