The call is now open for around 15 Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) focused on areas relevant to Artificial Intelligence (AI) across UK Research and Innovation's (UKRI) remit.

On behalf of the UKRI partners, EPSRC has confirmed that additional investment in Centres for Doctoral Training will be made to support research training of relevance to Artificial Intelligence (AI). This is expected to support 10-20 CDTs. This is a cross-UKRI activity in which the research councils and Innovate UK have come together to jointly develop the scope.

Therefore, bids are welcomed and encouraged from eligible institutions that address training needs in AI challenges across the breadth of AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, and STFC remits.


There is a strong emphasis on engagement with users of research, both in terms of commitment to and support for the training environment and consideration of context and potential impact in the development of research training programmes. Innovate UK have also been closely involved in the development of this initiative. This additional investment represents an exciting opportunity for highly multidisciplinary doctoral research training in an area of key importance to the UK

This call opens against the background of Professor Dame Wendy Hall and Jérôme Pesenti’s review, Growing the artificial intelligence industry in the UK, and the Government’s Industrial Strategy White Paper, Building a Britain fit for the Future.

This investment in AI skills will be kick-started by support for over 100 studentships that will be funded during 2018-19 via the research councils' current mechanisms and schemes. 

Then, recognising that CDTs are seen to be a successful mechanism for cohort-based training, up to 950 additional studentships, over five years, will be funded through a new call for CDTs opening today. 

This builds on collaborative work between the research councils and Innovate UK to develop a clear picture of the training needs in AI, related technologies, their applications and implications. The call presents an exciting opportunity for highly multidisciplinary, research training in this hugely important area for the UK.

Universities are invited to apply against two priority areas: 

  • Enabling Intelligence, a priority area within EPSRC's main CDT call
  • Applications and Implications of Artificial Intelligence (AIAI), a new priority area relevant to all research councils. 

CDT bids submitted against the new AIAI priority will not be required to include research training in EPSRC's remit.

How to apply

The deadline for outline proposals is 16.00 on 28 March 2018, with panels taking place during the week beginning 14 May 2018.

Following this outline stage, those applicants invited to proceed to full proposal will merge in with the main EPSRC CDT process with the new CDT cohort expected to start in the 2019-20 academic year. 

The funding of the centres will be subject to budget confirmation.