be.AI Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarships (Leverhulme Trust)

Investigate how intelligence arises from the interaction of the brain with the body and the environment in order to build the next generation of more robust Artificial Intelligence systems. Over a period of seven years we will train 18 scholars in a unique interdisciplinary environment involving supervisors from many Schools and Departments at Sussex.

Researcher carrying out work in a lab at the University of Sussex

PhD scholarships

Applications for this award are now open.

See our full list of scholarships.

About the scholarships

be.AI – biomimetic embodied AI – is a Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship programme awarded in 2020. 

Projects are offered within and across the disciplines of:

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

You must be a PhD applicant, who is applying for a place with one of the participating schools (Life Sciences, Informatics, Psychology, Media Arts and Humanities).

As a be.AI student, you will have your PhD tuition fees and living allowance covered for 3.5 years. You will also have access to further funds for research expenses.

Funding and support

As a be.AI Scholar you will:

  • be funded for 3.5 years with a a tax free living allowance at the standard Research Council rate – currently £15,009 per year– and UK fees
  • 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 science.

Applications open in the autumn each year with a deadline for applications in the following January.


You can see proposed projects on the programme website. Or develop a proposal of your own linked to the following 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 or within and across the disciplines listed above.

How to apply for a be.AI scholarship

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 system.

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. See 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 [Word Doc 52.62KB] and email it to

More about the Leverhulme Trust

Find out more about the Leverhulme Trust.

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