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University of Sussex’s Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme

Studentships available from the University of Sussex’s be.AI Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme

The University of Sussex invites applications for PhD studentships within the be.AI Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme which brings together researchers from the humanities, life sciences and computing to pursue artificial intelligence (AI) in its original definition of understanding natural intelligence by emulating it in artificial systems. In our unique interdisciplinary centre, we are advancing understanding of how the interaction between brain, body and environment gives rise to intelligence and how this insight can be used to build novel artificial intelligence.

What is the be.AI Leverhulme Programme?

The be.AI Doctoral Scholarship Programme, with additional support from the University of Sussex, has been supporting cohorts of 6 PhD students since September 2021. Projects are offered within and across the disciplines of Artificial intelligence, Informatics, Robotics, Engineering, Neuroscience, Psychology, Philosophy, Digital humanities and Music. PhD students will be registered within one of the participating schools (Life Sciences, Informatics, Psychology, Media Arts and Humanities). Proposed project ideas are detailed on the Programme Website or you can develop a proposal of your own linked to the themes:

  • be.AI rooted in the understanding gained from biological systems
  • biomimetic AI
  • embodied AI
  • be.AI applications to robotics and hybrid systems
  • consciousness and be.AI
  • ethical AI
  • be.AI to understand human behaviour
  • be.AI in music
  • philosophy of be.AI

You can approach supervisors from this pool of supervisors or wider within and across the disciplines listed above.

What does the be.AI Leverhulme scholarship offer?

As a be.AI Scholar you will:

  • Be funded for 3.5 years with a a tax free living allowance at the standard Research Council rate – currently £17,668 per year– and UK fees
  • Be eligible for generous financial support of up to £4,000 per year for training and research expenses, such as conference trips and experimental costs
  • Be eligible to apply for one of three 12 month postdoctoral research fellowships, available only to completing Leverhulme be.AI scholars
  • Benefit from supervision by world-leading researchers in many different aspects of AI
  • Benefit from taught courses in topics, such as ethics and data science

You will also benefit from research and practical expertise available across all participating schools and related doctoral programmes, via existing research networks, joint or additional supervision, and access to training. Be.AI scholars will join a vibrant doctoral community numbering around 1500, supported by a rich blend of University, UKRI, and charity and partnership funding.

University of Sussex’s Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme

Am I eligible?

Applicants should have/expect to have at least a 2:1 undergraduate honours degree. A master's degree in a relevant discipline is strongly desirable.

Applicants must also have a willingness to participate in the programme's interdisciplinary training and seminars.

The award is available to people from all countries, but international fees are not covered by default though exceptions may apply. Applicants to whom international fees apply are advised to obtain separate funding for the fee difference (currently between ca £13,500 and £17,500 per year, depending on whether the project is lab based).

How do I apply?

To apply for one of the advertised projects, or to propose your own, you should apply for a PhD place at Sussex using the online PhD application form.

If applying for one of the advertised projects, you should use the advert as a starting point, and develop this into a more detailed research proposal. Please see the guidance on writing a research proposal.

On the application form, choose the PhD course linked to the department of your chosen supervisor (e.g. Informatics, Engineering, Life Sciences) and enter “Leverhulme be.AI” in the “sources of funding” box.

Your completed application should include your project proposal, your CV and any other information requested e.g. degree certificates and transcripts and English language qualifications.

You will also need to submit a brief Expression of Interest form.


For questions regarding your chosen research project, please contact the project supervisor listed on the project description.

If you have questions relating to the application process, please contact Amanda Britt on leverhulme@sussex.ac.uk


23rd February 2023 (16:00): Deadline for applications
March 2023: Interviews (all interviews will be conducted by the be.AI Directors and Academic Board, which is cross-disciplinary in nature).
Early April 2023: Applicants notified regarding the outcome of their application.

Studentships available from the University of Sussex’s be.AI Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme

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