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The University of Southampton
Web Science Institute

Artificial Intelligence for Future Society

There is a global need to develop a large and highly skilled workforce that will drive an increasingly innovative economy, while understanding the adaptations necessary for working and living with Artificial Intelligence (AI), mitigating the risks it poses and shaping a future AI society.

The Web Science Institute (WSI) aims to train multidisciplinary doctoral researchers in developing cutting-edge AI techniques, in deploying AI in innovative solutions to complex social problems, and in managing the disruptive effects of AI on social infrastructure. 

AI for Future Society (AIFS)

Our research in AI enhances on our long-standing expertise in Web Science and Data Science. We are committed to training doctoral students from diverse disciplinary backgrounds, combining and building on foundational expertise across different areas in the computational and social sciences.  Training is tightly integrated with real world challenges in a broad application spectrum with strong social and economic impact.

Research Themes

Key themes include:

AIFS Week 2019

We will be running a week of sessions on a range of topics, including Digital Futures, Machine Learning & Distance Learning, Ethics and the Future of AI which will be open to all University of Southampton PhD students.

See the AIFS Week 2019 Programme including details of how to book a place.

PhD Opportunities

We welcome applications from potential candidates for PhD programmes in Web Science or Computer Science who have a strong interest in interdisciplinary AI-related research.  You should have, or expect to gain, a first or upper second-class degree in a relevant subject (Computer Science, Software Engineering) but do not need advanced AI experience.   

Your application should include a research proposal outlining your research interests in relation to the AIFS themes above. If you would like to discuss your proposed research area before making an application, please contact us at

Funded PhD opportunities may be available.  For details of current funding opportunities, please see the University of Southampton’s PhD Studentships page.  Studentships typically cover tuition fees at UK/EU rates and a stipend for living costs.  We also welcome applications from candidates who are in receipt of funding or scholarships from other sources.

Current opportunities

FundingPhD StudentshipDeadline
Web Science Institute AI for Future Society Deadline extended: 31 August 2019
Web Science Institute AI for Future Society: Smart Cities Initial deadline: 31 August 2019

How to apply

All PhD applications should be made online. Find out more about how to apply for a PhD programme in the School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS).   See also our general University guidance about applying for a postgraduate research degree, including guidelines for preparing a research proposal, which you can download here.

When making your online application, please select ‘PhD Web Science’ as the research programme, add ‘Web Science Institute – AI for Future Society’ as the Research Area, and indicate under Funding if you wish to be considered for a particular studentship.  Please include a relevant research proposal with your application.  

Apply online

Contact Us

For further information about PhD study at the WSI please email us at

About the Web Science Institute

About the Web Science Institute

The Web Science Institute (WSI) brings together world-leading interdisciplinary expertise to tackle the most pressing global challenges facing the World Wide Web and wider society today.

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