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Published on 4 March 2020 by web editor

Blog, IMAI news

As part of the ongoing project to bridge the digital skills gap in the UK and boost the quality of postgraduate students joining the AI industry, the Industrial Masters for Artificial Intelligence (IMAI) team held our first Formative Stakeholder meeting at the University of Bath’s Pall Mall offices in London.

Attendees of the IMAI formative stakeholder meeting

The aim of the day was to celebrate the first year of the IMAI project with partners who had supported us from the beginning.

It also gave the Office for Artificial Intelligence a chance to open discussions and feedback from the partners about their experiences with the programme, and ways the IMAI team could work to improve this.

The team was grateful to have so many industry partners in attendance and contributing their thoughts and feedback directly to the IMAI team and the Office for AI. As this project focuses on collaboration, this was an excellent opportunity for those involved to feel fully included in the progress of the programme.

The attendees list was extensive, with representatives from the following companies: Accenture, QMUL, BCS, L3 Harris,, ONS Data Science Campus, BAE Systems, The Digital Line, Amplyfi, UKSA , techUK and CISCO.

The day started with a reminder of how this programme had started from Sana Khareghani from the Office for AI. Zara Johnson, the Project Lead for the IMAI Programme, also gave an update of the project so far. This included updating the partners with our current placement and sponsorship numbers of 80, and highlighting that we want to push this higher, eventually to the thousands in future phases of the project.

Formative Stakeholder meeting morning session

It was great to see the enthusiasm of the room for the work that had been achieved so far. It was so positive for them to see what their contribution has been over the past year to the goals of both the Government and the team.

Rachid Hourizi, the Director of the Institute of Coding, then discussed what the aims were for 2020. The programme has now been extended for another year, so it was exciting to be able to share what will be achieved over the next 12 months.

This led into an open forum session, led by Dan Edwards from the Office for AI, which gave the stakeholders the opportunity to review the programme so far. This included commenting on what had been successful, but also offering suggestions on how we could further improvethe programme.

In this useful session, the stakeholders all offered forward-thinking ideas to make the programme an even greater success.

The group then heard from some of the MSc Scholars currently being supported through this programme by DeepMind in their studies. Gloriose, Lucrezia and Ayla spoke to the group about how this programme had helped them, both personally and professionally, and having this first-hand feedback really motivated the group to continue the work, as it was obvious what a difference it was making.

Gloriose Hitimana, Lucrezia Del Zompo & Ayla May Rowles Richardson discussing their experience with DeepMind

After lunch, Bill Mitchell from the BCS led another open forum to discuss the ethics within AI, and again got some positive feedback from the group on the importance of this within industry.

The final open forum was to discuss the skills framework of placements, with the intent to get perspectives from the individual companies. Again, the stakeholders gave great examples of best practise within their own current placement programmes, as well as offering ideas for future development.

Overall, it was a great day full of interesting discussions and positive feedback. The IMAI programme is fortunate to have a group of formative stakeholders who are so enthusiastic and engaging, to ensure that the programme keeps going from strength to strength.

With the support of the stakeholders and the Office for AI, IMAI programme can make a huge difference to students studying in AI at Masters level.

Find out more about the IMAI programme here.

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