School of Informatics

Researchers in informatics involved in four out of nine AI hubs announced today

Researchers from the School of Informatics will be involved in nearly half of the newly announced AI Hubs, further cementing the School’s place as a driving force in the development of AI in the UK.

AI probe station wafer mems technology

Nine new artificial intelligence research hubs across the UK will deliver next-generation innovations and technologies and provide focused investment that will enable AI to evolve and tackle complex problems across applications from healthcare treatments to power-efficient electronics.

Successful and ethical applications of AI in healthcare diagnosis and power-efficient electronics could help to address key societal issues, such as our ageing population, global energy use and climate change.

It is an honour and a great opportunity for our engineers to be leading two of EPSRC’s AI research hubs and I very much look forward to seeing what the future brings in terms of new technologies and innovations in AI.

Professor Sir Peter MathiesonPrincipal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh

The investment we’re pouring into these new projects is only possible as a result of our pro-innovation approach to AI. The AI Regulation White Paper consultation response we’ve set out today will see us forging ahead with that plan, driving forward the next wave of brilliant AI innovations. 

 These hubs will nurture new, cutting-edge breakthroughs, from healthcare treatments and more power efficient electronics to machine learning and chemical discovery.

Minister for AI Viscount Camrose

UKRI is supporting researchers and innovators to develop the next generation of AI technologies that will transform our economy and society. The investments announced today will help to deliver the capability the UK needs to realise the opportunities of this transformative technology. 

Through our £1bn portfolio of investments in AI research and innovation, we are supporting the development of new technologies, boosting skills, and accelerating the adoption of trusted and responsible AI.

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, Chief Executive of UKRI 

Artificial intelligence is already transforming our world. EPSRC supports world-leading research to unlock its potential and ensure it is developed and used in an ethical and responsible way. Long-term research funding has led to revolutionary advancements that have made AI a powerful tool for many applications. 

These hubs will deliver revolutionary AI innovations and tools in sectors from healthcare to energy, smart cities and environment. They will achieve this by solving key challenges and improving our understanding of AI helping to drive the increased productivity and economic growth promised by this technology.

Professor Charlotte Deane, Executive Chair of EPSRC

APRIL Hub

The AI for Productive Research and Innovation in Electronics Hub (APRIL), led by Regius Chair of Engineering Professor Themis Prodromakis, seeks to bring the benefits of AI to the UK electronics industry. Professors Subramanian Ramamoorthy and Mike O’Boyle from the School of Informatics are co-investigators.  

The APRIL hub aspires to develop AI tools for cutting development times for everything from new semiconductor materials for electronic devices to complicated microchip designs and system architectures, leading to faster, cheaper, greener and overall, more power-efficient electronics. 

CHAI Hub

The EPSRC AI Hub for Causality in Healthcare AI with Real Data (CHAI), led by Professor Sotirios Tsaftaris, aims to develop new ways of unearthing important links in complex health data. Researchers will develop AI-based tools to improve challenging tasks such as the early prediction, diagnosis and prevention of disease.

Professor Kia Nazarpour, Dr Ava Khamseh, Professor Ram Ramamoorthy, Dr Sohan Seth, Professor Ian Simpson and Dr Henry Gouk from the School of Informatics are co-investigators. 

ProbAI Hub

As well as leading the APRIL and CHAI centres, Informatics experts will also play key roles in two of the other AI hubs announced, based at University College London and Lancaster University.

The ProbAI hub, led by Lancaster University, with Professor Iain Murray from the School of Informatics as the co-investigator, will carry out world-leading research in an area known as probabilistic AI.

AI Hub in Generative Models

The centre led by University College London, called the AI Hub in Generative Models, aims to create tools that industry, government and the scientific community can use to fine-tune AI models that generate data such as text, images, videos and computer code. Professor Chris Williams is the University of Edinburgh lead, with Professor Mirella Lapata, Dr Michael Gutmann, Dr Pasquale Minervini, and Dr Siddharth Narayanaswamy involved as well.

Informatics the driving force in the development of AI in the UK

The investment is further recognition of the University’s world-leading expertise in AI. Edinburgh has a rich heritage of AI, and in 1963 was the first university in Europe to create a research group in AI and computer science. 

In late 2023, Edinburgh was announced as the host of three UKRI Centres for Doctoral Training in AI (the School of Informatics leading or involved in all three) – the only UK institution awarded more than one centre. The University will lead in developing the next generation of experts in applying AI to robotics, biomedical innovation and natural language processing.   

The University also recently established the Generative AI Laboratory (GAIL), which will push the forefront of generative AI to benefit society and stimulate economic growth. The lab aims to develop techniques for generative AI in key areas such as drug discovery, novel semiconductor technologies and tackling climate change. 

Related links

School of Engineering     

Edinburgh Futures Institute  

EPSRC   

UKRI