SFI Centre for Research Training in Machine Learning - PhD positions available


We at the School of Computer Science are delighted at the recent announcement of the new SFI Centre for Research Training in Machine Learning. The Centre is a collaboration between three Dublin universities (UCD, DCU, and TUD) and over the coming years will train over a hundred PhD students in machine learning research.


Machine learning, or software that learns from experience, has been responsible for most of the recent high profile successes attributed to artificial intelligence, including self-driving cars and grandmaster beating Go machines. These developments have been driven by the availability of ever bigger mountains of data and ever increasing computational power. As data availability has increased in many different areas of life, there has been an explosion in the successful application of machine learning technologies to real-world problems in a variety of industries, from transport and manufacturing to agriculture and healthcare.


Machine learning is changing the way we shop, exercise, entertain ourselves, travel, and even date. It has the potential to have huge positive impacts in health, transport, education, retail, information technology, and the media amongst many other sectors. Consequently there is an enormous societal and industrial need for PhD graduates with machine learning skills. The new centre will address this need by training 120 PhD students across four different cohorts. A major strength of the centre will be the cohort-based approach - students from all three universities will benefit from a shared six-week long bootcamp to build their machine learning knowledge and develop research skills. On an annual basis there also will be a week long Summer School attended by students from all cohorts and staff to encourage teamwork and to exchange knowledge.


The UCD leaders of the Centre are Dr. Brian Mac Namee and Dr. Georgiana Ifrim, both from the School of Computer Science. There are currently 57 potential PhD supervisors associated with the Centre, including many from the UCD School of Computer Science. Research topics for PhD students will range from fundamental questions in machine learning, to applications of machine learning in fields as diverse as health and finance, to understanding ethical issues associated with the use of machine learning in society.


There are 19 different Irish based companies, both SMEs and multinationals, that have an active interest in machine learning and are partnering in the Centre. In addition to their academic work, every student will complete a placement as part of their PhD. Typically these placements will last 3-6 months and will be with industry partners or an international research group.


The centre is currently recruiting the first cohort of PhD students to start in September 2019. All students will receive a generous scholarship (€18,500 per annum) and have their tuition fees fully covered. There are two deadlines for applicants - Sunday March 31st and Tuesday April 30th. Application details are available here.