The Alan Turing Institute is to fund seven innovative public engagement projects across the UK to boost understanding of AI and data science.  

The selected projects cover a range of methods for engaging with people from different backgrounds and with different levels of knowledge. The projects include a robotics roadshow, encouraging women and girls to participate in AI, and the exploration of the ethics of digital immortality through a theatrical performance. 

The funding call, which opened in April 2022, was developed with the aim of connecting with underrepresented groups who may not otherwise have the opportunity to engage with conversations around data science and AI. The projects will be based in cities around England and Wales including Coventry, Leicester, Cardiff and Manchester. By empowering and supporting researchers to run their own projects in their own cities, helping the Turing has been able to work with new communities.  

The call was open to UK-based researchers, including students and those with little experience in public engagement. As well as engaging with the public, the aim of these projects is to train and support a new generation of ambassadors for these topics.  

The successful projects were chosen by a panel of seven researchers from across our university partner network, all from different academic backgrounds. Each application was reviewed by two members of the panel, and scores out of 5 were given for each of the four criteria. A panel review meeting was held following the review process, facilitated by an independent advisor who helped the panel come to the final decision. 

Professor Mark Girolami, Chief Scientist at The Alan Turing Institute, said: “We’re delighted to be funding these important projects to improve public engagement with data science and AI. Data science and AI play such an important role in our lives, it’s really crucial that we continue to work with the people using and benefitting from it. This is the Turing‘s most ambitious public engagement project to date and a great opportunity for more people to get involved in the work.” 

As part of the award, the Turing is also offering one to one mentoring with an external advisor who can support the award holders and help them to develop successful projects. 

The projects will run from summer to November 2022. Final impact evaluations will be collected in March 2023, after which a final report will be published. 

For more information on this scheme, please contact the Public Engagement Manager, Jessie Wand, at [email protected].