Issued: Thu, 10 Jan 2019 09:17:00 GMT

Researchers from the University of Glasgow will lead a Centre for Doctoral Training aimed at developing the next generation of experts in artificial social intelligence.

A total of 50 new PhDs will be trained at the UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Social Intelligent Artificial Agents (SOCIAL), led by the University of Glasgow’s Professor Alessandro Vinciarelli.

SOCIAL was awarded a Training Grant of £4.9 million and is one of 16 new Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) which will share £200 million in new funding. The CDTs, based at 14 UK universities and supported by 300 partners, are aimed at training 1000 new PhDs to improve healthcare, tackle climate change and create new commercial opportunities.

SOCIAL brings together researchers from the University of Glasgow's Schools of Computing Science, Psychology and the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology with 16 industrial partners to train students on Socially Intelligent Artificial Agents.

The overarching goal of the CDT is to shape the next generation of experts in Artificial Social Intelligence. It is the AI domain aimed at endowing artificial agents with social intelligence: the ability to deal with users’ attitudes, intentions, feelings, personality and expectations.

Professor Alessandro Vinciarelli of the University’s School of Computing Science, who led the bid and will act as the Centre’s director, said: "We are delighted to have been given this unique opportunity to train the next generation of experts in Artificial Social Intelligence, to lead and advance AI-driven interactive technologies nationally and internationally. We are most grateful to UKRI for recognising the needs of the UK economy to become more competitive via informed use and development of socially intelligent agents, and for trusting us to fill this current gap by training the next generation of experts.”

Dr Monika Harvey, Co-Director and Reader in the School of Psychology, added: “We are now in the unique position of offering training that goes well beyond the knowledge of individual supervisors. From day 1 the students will be embedded in facilities, training courses and events that span multiple disciplines. They will learn from each other, engage with industry and feed this knowledge and expertise into other UK and international training centres. The ESRC-funded Scottish Graduate School of Social Sciences (SGSSS), as well as SICSA (the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance), are already partnering us in this venture, and we are thrilled about the mutual cohort training opportunities this will make possible” Dr Harvey points out.

Prof Stacy Marsella, Co-Director and Professor in the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, said: “It is a huge honour to be given the opportunity to run this CDT. Glasgow does world-leading research in Artificial Social Intelligence, and PhD-level cohort training can now take off here at the University. I am looking forward to using this funding to build a training environment that will not only attract Social AI researchers, but also public, private and third-sector investors from around the world.”

The announcement of funding for SOCIAL is the latest in a series of successful Centres for Doctoral Funding bids from the University of Glasgow. Earlier this month, EPSRC announced support for the University of Glasgow-led CDT for Engineered Tissues for Discovery, Industry and Medicine (or LifETIME) and the CDT in Future Ultrasonic Engineering (or FUSE).


For further information, please contact:

Prof. Alessandro Vinciarelli at

Dr Monika Harvey at

Prof. Stacy Marsella at