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DeepMind academic fellow joins Queen Mary University of London

Rendani Mbuvha, a promising Actuary & Machine Learning Researcher, joins Queen Mary as the DeepMind Academic Fellow in Machine Learning from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa.

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Working in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science, his role is funded by a donation to the University from leading British artificial intelligence (AI) company DeepMind, specifically for a promising early career researcher.

Rendani will make important research contributions to the fields of machine learning, computer science, and artificial intelligence. In addition to furthering his research, the position will enable him to prepare for a full academic role within a world-class and supportive educational environment. The role includes teaching and outreach activities to provide an opportunity to inspire students and encourage future generations into a key scientific area, particularly those who identify as Black who are significantly under-represented in the field.

The creation of the post strengthens Queen Mary’s existing relationship with DeepMind. Queen Mary already runs a scholarship programme funded by the AI firm to help support and encourage individuals from groups currently underrepresented in AI to pursue postgraduate education in the field – established in 2019.

Commenting on his new post, Rendani Mbuvha said: “I am excited to take up this role at Queen Mary's world-leading School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science. Queen Mary's reputation as a highly inclusive University and the support from DeepMind put me in good stead to achieve the objectives of this impactful fellowship."

Professor Wen Wang, Vice-Principal and Executive Dean (Science and Engineering) at Queen Mary University of London said: “Queen Mary is delighted to work with DeepMind in a partnership to provide valuable opportunities for those from under-represented groups in AI.

“We are committed to tackling imbalances within the field whilst giving talented researchers the chance to flourish. The DeepMind Academic Fellow role will no doubt inspire exciting research in a field of great national and international importance, in keeping with the University’s world-leading reputation on this front.”

Sheila Gupta, Vice-Principal (People, Culture and Inclusion) at Queen Mary added: “Supporting a culture founded on diversity and inclusion is a key priority for the University, playing an important part in enhancing our academic success. This position is an example of another fantastic initiative that will boost the education and careers of Black students and staff at the University.

“We want to provide the right environment for all of our students and staff to achieve their full potential. That is why I am thrilled we are extending our partnership with DeepMind, boosting diversity, and enhancing our own academic community.”

Professor Steve Uhlig, Head of Queen Mary’s School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science said: “Rendani will make an excellent addition to the school and we look forward to his arrival. Our School is renowned for its pioneering research, ranking highly in the UK, and the diversity of its staff in terms of nationalities and social backgrounds. This position will provide a fantastic springboard for a researcher in the early stages of his career.”

Obum Ekeke, Global Lead of University Relations and Education Partnerships, DeepMind, said: “Building a thriving and representative AI ecosystem means thinking beyond access at the undergraduate and postgraduate level. Talented early career researchers like Rendani play a vital role in the AI ecosystem, not only through their research contributions, but through their training and support for the next generation working and studying AI.

“The DeepMind Academic Fellowship Programme is designed to support early career researchers, particularly those who are currently underrepresented in AI, pursue postdoctoral study and enable them to progress to full academic or other research leadership roles in future. We’re delighted to continue our partnership with Queen Mary through the Fellowship programme and to welcome Rendani in his new role.”

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