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AI students enjoy global research opportunity

Three white males stand in front of trees and a building.

Liverpool Hope University students had the opportunity to participate in a research project in South America thanks to the Turing Scheme, a government-funded initiative that allows students study and work abroad.

Three students from the School of Maths, Computer Science and Engineering visited Brazil in the summer of 2023, where they had the opportunity to conduct research in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Thomas Biddlecomb, Lewis Lannan and Kaloyan Tsankov spent a month in South America, where they studied at the University of Sao Paulo (USP), which is widely regarded as the most prestigious institution in Brazil.

The trio, all of whom study MSci Artificial Intelligence, also had the opportunity to visit Sao Paulo State University (UNESP) and the Federal University of São Carlos.

“This trip as very valuable for me, because in the future I want to work in academia as a researcher and lecturer,” said Kaloyan, whose research project focused on replicating the grid cells the brain uses for navigation into a language model.

The 23-year-old Bulgarian was supervised by Professor Alneu Lopes in the Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science at USP and says the trip enhanced his learning experience.

“It was a good opportunity to experience a full research project for the first time, which was very useful for me because I want to do a PhD.

“USP is a brilliant university so it was a great place to see how other students interact with the educational system, how they work and what they do.”

Thomas’ research examined the the classification and detection of malicious code, whilst Lewis focused on detecting errors in a knowledge graph and the 26-year-old from Dagenham believes this global study opportunity will stand him in good stead for his future career.

“I am currently applying for PhDs and would love to study abroad, potentially returning to Brazil,” he added.

“This trip was an incredibly valuable experience. We got to experience a completely different culture and on the academic side the connections made were invaluable and seeing the level of academic rigour was eye opening.

“The trip really helps us stand out from other applicants when applying for a job, showing that we have taken further initiative. In addition, conducting your own research shows potential employers that you get started on your own projects.”

Dr Brett Drury, Lecturer in Maths, Computer Science and Engineering, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for our students and we are grateful to the Turing Scheme for making it possible.

“Global study experiences are life changing. They expand students’ horizons and encourage new ways of thinking. They also help students achieve positive career outcomes and the opportunity to forge connections within the international scientific community will be particularly beneficial to Thomas, Lewis and Kaloyan as early career researchers.”

Published on 20/11/2023