The University of Oxford and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have announced a strategic collaboration to accelerate advances in artificial Intelligence (AI) and data science across the university’s entire research portfolio.

The new collaboration, supported by a £7 million gift from AWS to the University’s Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences (MPLS) Division, will focus on building a portfolio of new research projects relating to AI, robotics, cyber-physical systems, and human-centred computing.

The research in AI, robotics and cyber-physical systems will focus on intelligent autonomous systems with applications in areas such as healthcare, logistics, environmental monitoring, and smart cities, while human-centred computing examines the impacts that contemporary computing systems have on individuals, communities, and societies.

The collaboration will also support the University of Oxford’s ‘Lighthouse Doctoral Scholarship programme’, an initiative between its MPLS Division and AWS, to provide funding to 25 PhD students from 2020-2022 who are applying to the Centre for Doctoral Training in Autonomous Intelligent Machines and Systems, or to the research laboratories of the supervisors in the human-machine collaboration initiative.

Professor Patrick Grant, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) University of Oxford, said: “Cloud computing is an essential part of modern research. A streamlined operating model for using cloud services will benefit all of our researchers. The Oxford Robotics Institute, the Cyber Physical Systems Group, and the Human Centred Computing Group are leading the initial projects in the short term, but I look forward to growing the collaboration to bring research benefits across our research work more broadly.”

Max Peterson, VP International Sales Worldwide Public Sector, AWS, said: “We are excited about this collaboration with the University of Oxford. With AWS, the University will be able to accelerate time-to-science as multiple, large experiments can be conducted in parallel with greater ease and in less time. And by driving cost down, researchers can dramatically increase the scale of computational experimentation. The collaboration demonstrates how academia can use the cloud to deliver excellent science with greater speed, flexibility and security, compared to using on premises data centres. Through our donation we will also support a new generation of researchers accessing cloud-native tools and technology for research through the University’s ‘Lighthouse Doctoral Scholarship programme’.”

For more information, read the University of Oxford press release.