AI meets Biosciences – a new major UKRI Network about to start

BRIDGING the gap between artificial intelligence (AI) and biosciences to solve major societal challenges is the aim of a new five-year £1.6m project involving the University of Aberdeen and several other UK universities.

The Artificial Intelligence in the Biosciences (AIBIO-UK) network will aim to bring together AI and core bioscience researchers to unravel biological fundamentals and tackle impending societal challenges. The ultimate aim of this network is to enhance AI capabilities within the biosciences and be the “go-to” place for resources at the interface between AI and the biosciences, placing a strong emphasis on responsible research and innovation and the ethics of AI.

AIBIO-UK envisages bringing an understanding of AI to a much wider bioscience audience, bringing together developers and users to upskill the bioscience community in key AI-relevant practices and knowledge.

Funded by the UKRI Biotechnology and Biosciences Research Council (BBSRC), AIBIO-UK will provide bioscientists with practical skills and knowledge in AI to benefit their research, while equipping AI researchers with knowledge of the main challenges facing the biosciences. AIBIO-UK will develop new interdisciplinary ways of working via pilot project funding, and develop Grand Challenges of AI in bioscience.

Professor Georgios Leontidis, Interdisciplinary Director for Data & AI at the University of Aberdeen, is leading the University’s contribution to the project.

He said, “Recently, AI has seen unprecedented popularity, partly due to the hype surrounding generative AI. Although models such as ChatGPT, LLaMA, and Stable Diffusion are used to accomplish various tasks, including text and image generation, content creation, and more, AI is poised to accelerate scientific discoveries at scale, generate hypotheses, and assist humans in their day-to-day tasks.

“I am excited that the University of Aberdeen – the only Scottish university in the consortium – is co-leading AIBIO-UK. I look forward to collaborating with our partners, both within academia and industry, who have supported this project”.

Led by the University of Nottingham, other partners include the University of Bristol, Aberystwyth University, Manchester University, King’s College London and the Quadram Institute based in Norwich. The project starts on the 1st of September 2023 for a period of five years.


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