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DeepMind establishes scholarship for four Wits Masters students in machine learning

- Wits University

Scholarships seek to increase diversity in the fields of machine learning and are aimed at students from backgrounds underrepresented in AI.

DeepMind, an Alphabet company and a world leader in the field of artificial intelligence research and its applications in the real world, has donated scholarship funding for four Wits students to complete their Masters degrees in the field of machine learning.

The scholarships will fund students registering for MSc degrees in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, orRobotics in the academic years between 2022 and 2024.

The scholarships, known as the DeepMind Scholarships, will only be awarded to students who would not be able to take up their studies without financial assistance. Preference will also be afforded to South African citizens from underrepresented groups, including black students and women. It will also be open to international students, with a preference to residents of Sub-Saharan African states.

“The spirit of the donation and the DeepMind Scholarships is to increase diversity in the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning, and to increase the representation of the groups currently most underrepresented in these fields,” says Obum Ekeke, Global Lead, University Relations & Education Partnerships at DeepMind. “We are proud to help support the next generation of AI researchers and engineers in Africa.”

The Scholarships will provide tuition fees, a stipend, plus conference and equipment funding for two Masters students who aim to complete their degree through dissertation over two years, as well as for two students who enrol in a Master’s programme through coursework and dissertation over two years.

“Artificial Intelligence is an important building block and key driver in the Wits Digital Transformation suite of centenary projects, of which artificial intelligence and machine learning is a key driver,” says Professor Zeblon Vilakazi, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Wits University.

In participating in the DeepMind scholarships programme, Wits University joins world-leading universities in the field of machine learning and artificial intelligence such as the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, New York University and University College London, and is one of only three African universities selected to host DeepMind Scholarships, alongside Stellenbosch University and Makerere University.      

Scholars get their Masters' fees paid in full, as well as guidance and support from a personal DeepMind mentor. 

Professor Benjamin Rosman, associate professor in the School of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at Wits says the scholarships will become a much-needed platform and launchpad to the careers of some of the country’s most talented students in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at Wits.

“This is an exciting recognition of Wits’ role as a leader in Machine Learning and AI in Africa. Enabled by this support from DeepMind, Wits will bring an even broader range of African talent to the global conversation in cutting-edge AI research,” says Rosman.

Interested applicants can apply here.