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DeepMind inks deal to launch AI for Sciences programme in Africa

Alphabet-owned AI research lab DeepMind has partnered with the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, to launch a new “AI for Science” pan-African Masters programme.

The programme seeks to help accelerate scientific discovery with AI in the region and contribute to a more diverse global AI ecosystem. Talented students from across the continent have a chance to study at AIMS South Africa and connect with DeepMind employees for mentoring and support.

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DeepMind will donate up to $4.5M to launch and run the programme from August 2023 to June 2027, with an aim of reaching up to 160 students by the end of the initial four-year period. 

The curriculum, which initially runs from August 2023 to July 2027, looks at how we can use AI to better understand the world around us and accelerate progress on some of today’s most fundamental and fascinating scientific challenges. It will be developed by AIMS and DeepMind, with input from four world-leading local scientific groups. such as the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation (CERI)

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Ulrich Paquet, Research Scientist at DeepMind, has been appointed as Executive Director at AIMS South Africa and is set to lead the programme until 2027.

“We are thrilled to partner with AIMS to give talented students from across Africa a chance to follow their passion. Africa comprises of the youngest population. It holds incredible potential to contribute to the field of AI – yet, the region is significantly underrepresented in AI research today. Fixing this not only is the right thing to do – it is critical if AI is going to be a technology that benefits everyone. We hope this programme not only serves to build a more diverse and inclusive global AI ecosystem, but also enables new breakthroughs in science that will benefit the African region directly.”said Obum Ekeke OBE, Head of Education Partnerships at DeepMind.

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DeepMind’s mission is to solve intelligence to advance science and benefit humanity. AI impacts society and needs to be shaped by a diversity of perspectives, which is why DeepMind introduced its global scholarships and community outreach programmes to broaden participation in the field. 

“We launched AIMS two decades ago, with many friends across Africa. Our goal was to enable Africa’s brightest students to enter science at the highest level. The success of our 2500 alumni, from 45 African countries, demonstrates that Africa will be a major source of scientific and technical talent in the future. As well as tackling societal challenges like climate change, AIMS graduates are powering leading edge scientific projects in Africa such as the Square Kilometre Array and the African Light Source. AIMS is thrilled to be working with DeepMind to bring young Africans into AI,“ said Neil Turok, Founder of AIMS and a world-leading theoretical physicist.

The new partnership with AIMS builds on the company’s existing commitments in Africa, including DeepMind Scholarships at the University of the Witwatersrand and Makerere and Stellenbosch Universities, and the Deep Learning Indaba, an annual meeting of the African machine learning community designed to strengthen African machine learning and co-founded by DeepMind employees in 2017.

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Val Lukhanyu
Val Lukhanyu
I cover technology news, startups, business and gadget reviews

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