New funding for research technical professionals in AI for Science
18 Mar 2024



​AI technologies have become a cornerstone of scientific and engineering research and development, with profound implications on real-world applications.




An image of a man looking at some bits of computing kitResearch technical professionals (RTPs) are now being offered the chance to receive vital training in AI for Science that will boost their skillsets and provide them with new opportunities.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has today announced £16 million for 11 new projects to support the research workforce.  The investment is coming through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and UKRI Digital Research Funding programme.

It has presented the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) with a tremendous opportunity to begin to address the skills gap in AI for Science, with £2 million being allocated to two groups operating within STFC Scientific Computing.

They are joining forces to form a National Platform for Research Technical Professionals on AI for Science and Engineering (NPRAISE), which will deliver a comprehensive training programme that will empower future RTPs in the UK with the skills they need.

Scientific Computing's SciML (Scientific Machine Learning) Group has an extensive track record of delivering a range of AI for Science capabilities to a wide variety of national laboratories and UK academia. CoSeC (Computational Science Centre for Research Communities) is a national initiative that supports computational science and research and fosters interdisciplinary collaborations across numerous engineering and physical science communities.

Together they will develop NPRAISE through three training streams targeted at activities within the CoSeC communities; individual RTPs and research software engineers (RSEs); and community-wide open training programmes.

Tom Griffin, Director of STFC Scientific Computing, said, “We urgently need research technical professionals with practical skills and      in-depth knowledge of AI in science and engineering, to help drive forward the AI revolution in science. Establishing NPRAISE is the first step in bridging the current skills gap in these areas.

“It will expose the RTPs to AI for Science initiatives in both the UK and US National Labs, enable them to gain new and relevant skillsets and open up a spectrum of new career opportunities.  This is a timely investment that will boost skills and careers within vital research communities."

Over the next four years, the NPRAISE team aims to recruit, coach and develop up to 24 RTPs (six per year) with relevant AI skills. These RTPs will gain a wealth of experience that will enable them to deliver state-of-the-art scientific software for the research communities, providing potential for career advancement.

NPRAISE will be inclusive, flexible and diverse enough to support existing RTPs at all stages of their careers, and aspiring future RTPs across different branches of science and engineering.​

Notes for editors:

Project partners for NPRAISE include several of the US National Laboratories, UK National Facilities Higher Education and other academic institutes, and Industrial Tech organisations.

For more information about the projects funded under this investment, see the UKRI announcement.​

Contact: O'Sullivan, Marion (STFC,RAL,SC)