Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships

Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme: be.AI - biomimetic embodied Artificial Intelligence. (2021)

The University of Sussex invites applications for PhD studentships within the be.AI Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship Programme which will bring together researchers from the humanities, life sciences and computing to pursue artificial intelligence (AI) in its original definition of understanding natural intelligence by emulating it in artificial systems. In our unique interdisciplinary centre, we will advance understanding of how the interaction between brain, body and environment gives rise to intelligence and how this insight can be used to build novel artificial intelligence.

Type of award

PhD Scholarship.

PhD project

Proposed projects are detailed on the Programme Website or you can develop a proposal of your own linked to the themes: 

  • be.AI rooted in the understanding gained from biological systems
  • biomimetic AI
  • embodied AI
  • be.AI applications to robotics and hybrid systems
  • consciousness and be.AI
  • ethical AI
  • be.AI to understand human behaviour
  • be.AI in music
  • philosophy of be.AI

You can approach supervisors from this pool of supervisors or wider within and across the following disciplines:

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Informatics
  • Robotics
  • Engineering
  • Neuroscience
  • Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • Digital humanities
  • Music


As a be.AI Scholar you will:

  • Be funded for 3.5 years with a tax free living allowance at the standard Research Council rate – currently £15,285 per year– and UK PhD fee waiver (currently £4,407 per year);
  • Be eligible for generous financial support of up to £4,000 per year for training and research expenses, such as conference trips and experimental costs;
  • Be eligible to apply for one of three 12 month postdoctoral research fellowships, available only to completing Leverhulme be.AI scholars;
  • Benefit from supervision by world-leading researchers in many different aspects of AI;
  • Benefit from taught courses in topics, such as ethics and data management.


Applicants should have/expect to have at least a 2:1 undergraduate honours degree. A master's degree in a relevant discipline is strongly desirable.

Applicants must also have a willingness to participate in the programme's interdisciplinary training and seminars.

The award is available to people from all countries but international fees are not covered. Applicants to whom international fees apply will need to obtain funding for the fee difference (currently between ca £13,500 and £17,500 per year, depending whether the project is lab based) before applying to the programme.


Number of scholarships available

Up to 6 scholarships are available for an autumn 2021 start.


31 January 2021 0:00 (GMT)

How to apply

To apply for one of the advertised projects, or to propose your own, you should apply for a PhD place at Sussex using the online PhD application form.

If applying for one of the advertised projects, you should use the advert as a starting point, and develop this into a more detailed research proposal. Please see the guidance on writing a research proposal.

On the application form, choose the PhD course linked to the department of your chosen supervisor (e.g. Informatics, Engineering, Life Sciences) and enter “Leverhulme” in the “sources of funding” box.

Your completed application should include your project proposal, your CV and any other information requested e.g. degree certificates and transcripts and English language qualifications.

You will also need to complete the Leverhulme funding application.  This must be returned to leverhulme@sussex.ac.uk


The Leverhulme Trust

Contact us


For questions regarding your chosen research project, please contact the project supervisor listed on the project description.

If you have questions relating to the application process, please contact Amanda Britt on Leverhulme@sussex.ac.uk



31 January 2021 23:59   - Deadline for applications

February 2021   -  Interviews (all interviews will be conducted by the be.AI Directors and Academic Board, which is cross-disciplinary in nature).

Early March 2021 -  Applicants notified regarding the outcome of their application


At level(s):
PG (research)

Application deadline:
31 January 2021 0:00 (GMT)
the deadline has now expired


The award is available to people from these specific countries: