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The University of Southampton
Web Science Institute

Artificial Intelligence for the Future of 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 the Future of Society (AIFS)

Our research in AI enhances 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:

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 further details, 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. Early application is advised if you wish to be considered for funding.

We also welcome applications from candidates who are in receipt of funding or scholarships from other sources.

Current opportunities

PhD StudentshipFundingDeadline
AI for the Future of Society UK/EU fees plus stipend

Application deadline: 31 August 2020

To be considered for Funding Round 1 please apply by 31 January 2020

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 and writing a research proposal here.

When making your online application:

Apply online

Contact Us

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

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AIFS Week 2019

In September 2019 we ran a series of sessions on a range of AI-related topics: Digital Futures; Machine Learning & Deep Learning; Ethics for Researchers; and the Future of AI.

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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