We welcome philanthropists, Maecenas, and good patrons and patronesses.

To Serve


PI/CI: Eduardo Alonso/ Esther Mondragón
Funder/scheme: Alan Turing Institute / Turing Network Funding
Duration: 1 year (2023)
Amount: £10,000

The project will consider the challenges posed by the irruption of AI art, the metaverse and its impact on intellectual property regimes, including copyrights, trademarks, publicity rights, and trade secrets. Issues at the intersection between AI, the blockchain, data science, copyright law, business and social sciences will be discussed, with special attention to the ethical aspects of creating, distributing, and collecting AI, VR and AR art in the metaverse within existing legal frameworks.


PI/CI: Eduardo Alonso/ Esther Mondragón
Funder/scheme: Alan Turing Institute / Turing Network Development Award
Duration: 1 year (2022)
Amount: £24,770

The proposed Turing network will investigate the irruption of NFT crypto art, its potential to change the world for the better, and make proposals on how to tackle the technical, socio-economic, ethical, and legal concerns it raises. The national and global impact of AI will be massive, so it is imperative that the UK leads such an effort. In particular, we aim at stimulating research into more secure, ecological and inclusive NFT and blockchain technology for the creative industries, training leaders in the sector and catalysing public conversation in six inter-related dimensions that require collaboration of experts in AI, data science, law, business and social sciences, namely: (1) the blockchain where NFT transactions are executed and stored are open to attack, fraud and identity theft, hence we need new ways of making it more secure, reliable and robust; (2) despite new power-of-stake methods to build blocks, the blockchain still relies heavily on power-of-work systems, which register extremely high carbon footprints; (3) the dynamics of NFT networks, their markets and art communities, show clustering trends that contradict claims of openness and democratisation; (4) which, in turn, pose ethical questions on their equality, diversity and inclusiveness, as well as (5) on their reliance on hardware and software that widen the digital divide; (6) smart contracts are not legally binding, raising concerns on IP and copyrights.


PI/CIs: Esther Mondragón/ Eduardo Alonso and Alex Ter-Sarkisov
Funder/scheme: Bosch AA-AS
Duration: 3 years (2022-25)
Amount: £141,600

The project aims at developing a self-learning platform based on the interactions between a workshop technician with a diagnostic tool, vehicle data, and warranty data. The platform will cluster data from the various sets to build a pattern of failure and the steps taken by the technician to repair the vehicle. Based on pattern recognition the system will make suggestions to the user. Completed repairs including Diagnostic Trouble Code and applied technical actions will be analysed by the analytics engine so that the system will automatically offer accurate and useful information when a new similar issue/repair on the vehicle is encountered. The objective is to anticipate the technicians’ requirements and to deliver the right information to ensure a first visit fix, to guide through the required repair steps and minimise user time.


PI: Giacomo Tarroni
Funder/scheme: City, University of London / City Pump Prime Funding
Duration: 1 year (2022-23)
Amount: £7,500

Over the past decade, medical image analysis has been revolutionised by the advent of Deep Learning, which greatly increased the accuracy of computer vision techniques and allowed the development of many computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) tools ly used in the clinic. The most common approach adopted to implement these tools consists in fully-supervised learning, whereby a neural network is trained with a large number of medical images, previously annotated by medical experts, to localise and classify lesions and abnormalities. However, this approach 1) relies on the availability of large annotated image datasets, which are very difficult and costly to create, and 2) it is incapable of detecting previously unseen abnormalities. An alternative approach consists of unsupervised learning: in this setting, the network is trained on an unannotated dataset of images from healthy subjects “to learn what normal looks like”. After training, the network can be used to detect the presence and location of potential anomalies on test images. The project aims at developing a novel method for unsupervised anomaly detection (UAD) in medical images.


PI/CIs: Ioannis Karathanasis/ Carlos Rodriguez-Fernandez, Alex Ter-Sarkisov and Manolis Gavaises
Funder/scheme: Horizon 2020/ Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowships
Duration: 3 years (2022-2024)
Amount: £275,700

Our motivation is to develop an AI algorithm able to predict the characteristics of vaporising liquid fuel sprays as a function of the e-fuel composition, extreme ambient conditions of the fuel system and combustion chamber (pressures up to 4500bar and temperatures up to 3000K), and FIE design. The fuel properties will be considered through a SAFT variant plus some additional models that depend on the outputs of the former. Following its development, the AI algorithm will be trained against existing databases for sprays available at the US-based host institution, Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), which cover a wide range of operating conditions, fossil fuel and surrogates’ properties, combustion concepts and FIE characteristics. The final aim of the proposed research is to utilise the developed tool, jointly with a leading oil industry (BP) and laboratories for standardisation of physical properties (National Standard (NIST)), for the design of new synthetic e-fuels.

DEEPSYNC:Automated VFX for Video Dubbing

PI/CIs: Eduardo Alonso / Alex Ter-Sarkisov and Esther Mondragón (in collaboration with DeepReel and Prime Focus Technologies)
Funder/scheme: Innovate UK Smart Grant
Duration: 18 months (2021-23)
Amount: £143,000

Automated VFX for Dubbing is an innovative project at the cutting-edge of AI-technology in the Media & Entertainment (M&E) industry. This project will produce commercially viable automated visual effects (VFX) technology for dubbing videos. This technology will allow dubbing companies to automatically apply VFX that change lip and jaw movements of actors in videos to match new dialogues dubbed in any language. This will create the appearance that the actor is speaking the dubbed dialogue, improving the audience experience considerably. This innovative, technically challenging, and disruptive project introduces VFX technology to dubbing for the first time and could transform the media localisation business. The project will democratize access to VFX technology, help SME dubbing studios create high quality dubbed content, strengthen UK's position as a global leader in Creative-AI technologies, and create high quality jobs in AI and media.

Using AI analytics to close the advice gap for life, pension & investments (LP&I)

PI/CIs: Eduardo Alonso / Alex Ter-Sarkisov and Simone Krummaker
Funder/scheme: EIT-Digital and Ai London / Industrial AI Doctoral Training Program
Duration: 3 years (2020-23)
Amount: £154,000

Life, Pension & Investment providers (LP&I), the target market for this project, are under pressure to enable better outcomes for citizens seeking financial advice. These citizens seek advice in order to have adequate funds for key life events (e.g. birth, leaving school, graduation, first home, retirement, illness). This project supports the development of an Ai-Analytics Platform to help close an identified “Advice Gap” using leading edge Deep Learning technologies, to accurately identify types of customers, predict their needs based on history, and choose actions (offers) that provide customers with the best possible service.

Free Energy Principle for adaptive cognitive architectures

PI/CIs: Michaël Garcia-Ortiz / Esther Mondragón and Eduardo Alonso
Funder/scheme: DSTL, UK-France Joint Research PhD Programme
Duration: 3 years (2020-23)
Amount: £98,000

Reinforcement Learning (RL) is widely used to teach robots how to make decisions and act. Tremendous advances were recently made; however, agents still suffer from a lack of generalization, adaptation and transfer of their knowledge to novel environments. The Free Energy Principle (FEP) takes inspiration from Information Theory, Neuroscience and Cognitive Sciences. It formulates perception, reasoning and action in a probabilistic framework, and elegantly accounts for the emergence of high-level cognitive functions. It is motivated by the need for life to adapt to its environment, and therefore complements RL approaches. We hypothesize that FEP can improve RL for Robotics by offering more efficient and flexible architectures. We propose first to enhance current RL architectures with neuro-inspired algorithms that were identified as key components of intelligence in the FEP theory, then to implement optimization mechanisms inspired from the FEP to provide adaptability to agents.

Learning, Approximating and Minimising Streaming Automata for Large-scale Optimisation

PI: Laure Daviaud
Funder/scheme: EPSRC / New Investigator Award
Duration: 3 years (2020-23)
Amount: £324,660.48

This project links formal methods used in verification and artificial intelligence, proposing to apply learning techniques to improve the efficiency of some algorithms which certify computer systems and to compute fast accurate models for real-life systems. Automata are one of the mathematical tools used in verification to model computer or real-life systems. Giving certifications on these systems often boils down to running some algorithms on the corresponding automata. The efficiency of such algorithms usually depends on the size of the considered automaton. Minimising automata is thus a paramount problem in verification, as a way to verify large computer or real-life systems faster.
This proposal aims at studying the minimisation of some streaming models of quantitative automata using machine learning techniques. The kind of automata we are going to focus on, are streaming models, in the sense that the input is not stored but received as a stream of data and dealt with on the fly, thus being particularly suitable for the treatment of big data. They are also suited to deal with optimisation problems such as minimising the resource consumption of a system or computing the worst-case running time of a program. Minimising these kind of automata is highly challenging and linked with the long-standing open problem of the determinisation of max-plus automata.

Learning to Represent Scenes for Artificial General Intelligence and Robotics

PI: Michaël Garcia-Ortiz
Funder/scheme: City, University of London / City Pump Prime Funding
Duration: 1 year (2020-21)
Amount: £19,468.69

Today, robots and agents are limited in their learning capabilities, and can’t adapt to novel environments, which is a strong issue that lead to new developments in transfer learning, abstraction, and generalisation. To adapt to the unknown, a robot must build representations of the world, how to act in it, its physics, and develop a common-sense knowledge akin to the one present in animals and humans. This project is at the intersection of multiple scientific fields that would allow to learn such representations: continual learning and unsupervised learning of scene decomposition.

Building a partnership with Sony Computer Science Laboratories (Sony CSL) and Japanese Universities

PI/CIs: Michaël Garcia-Ortiz / Eduardo Alonso and Nabil Aouf
Funder/scheme: City, University of London / Global Partnership Seed Fund
Duration: 1 year (2020-21)
Amount: £4,985

This award will finance visits to potential partners in Japan, in order to build long-lasting relations with SMCSE on the topics of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. In particular, Sony CSL and CitAI share a common interest in the domains of Artificial General Intelligence and Developmental Robotics.

Algorithms for predictive maintenance of vehicles in a connected environment

PI/CI: Eduardo Alonso / Atif Riaz
Funder/scheme: EIT-Digital and Bosch AA-AS / Industrial AI Doctoral Training Program
Duration: 3 years (2020-23)
Amount: £154,000

Novel algorithms will be developed for predicting and specifying repair and maintenance requirements of vehicles in connected environments, where the vehicle and the repair workshop are in two-way data communication with cloud-based services. These may include algorithms for identifying what data to collect, identifying and predicting faults using collected data, advising vehicle operators of repair and maintenance requirements and optimising the repair and maintenance tasks to be performed.

FourCmodelling: Conflict, Competition, Cooperation and Complexity: Using Evolutionary Game Theory to model realistic populations

PI/CIs: Mark Broom / Eduardo Alonso, Andrea Baronchelli and Anne Kandler
Partners: Biology Center, Ceske Budejovice, Eotvos Lorand University, Maastricht University, University of Szeged, University of Torino, Arizona State University, Moffitt Cancer Center, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Wilfird Laurier University
Funder/scheme: EU / H2020-MSCA-RISE-2015
Duration: 3 years (2016-19)
Amount: €243,000

Real animals and human populations are complex, involving structural relationships depending upon space and time and varied interactions between potentially many individuals. Human societies feature family units, communities, companies and nations. Some animal also have complex societies, such as primate groups and social insect colonies. Single organisms themselves can be thought of as complex ecosystems, host to many interacting life forms. Models of populations are necessarily idealised, and most involve either simple pairwise interactions or "well-mixed" structureless populations, or both. In this project we are developing game-theoretical models, both general and focused on specific real population scenarios, which incorporate population structure and within population interactions which are both complex in character. We focus on the themes of Conflict, Competition, Cooperation and Complexity inherent in the majority of real populations. There are four complementary sub-projects within the overall project. The first focuses on developing a general theory of modelling multiplayer evolutionary games in structured populations, and feeds into each of the other three sub-projects. The second considers complex foraging games, in particular games under time constraints and involving sequential decisions relating to patch choice. The third involves modelling human social behaviours, a particular example being epidemic cascades on social networks. The final sub-project models cancer as a complex adaptive system, where a population of tumour, normal and immune cells evolve within a human ecosystem. The four sub-projects have been developed in parallel fostered by frequent research visits and interactions, each involving a team comprising of EU and North American researchers, and feed into each other through regular interactions and meetings. The aim is to develop a rich, varied but consistent theory with wide applicability.

Innovative Technology for District Heating and Cooling (InDeal)

PI/CIs: Nicos Karcanias/ Eduardo Alonso and George Halikias
Partners: NAITEC, The Centre for Research and Technology-Hellas (CERTH), The Institute for Research and Technology Thessaly (IRETETH), The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA Tech), IZNAB, The Center for Technology Research and Innovation (CETRI), Net Technologies Finland (NET), PROMAR Ltd, Energetika Projekt, Syndicat national du chauffage urbain et de la climatisation urbaine (SNCU), FEDENE | Fédération des Services Energie Environnement, and SERM (Société d'Équipement de la Region Montpelliéraine).
Funder/scheme: EU / H2020-EE-2015-2-RIA
Duration: 3 years (2016-19)
Amount: €1,992,726.25

Challenged by climate change, and coupled with the need to secure sustainable economic growth and social cohesion, Europe must achieve a genuine energy revolution to reverse present-day unsustainable trends and live up to the ambitious policy expectations. A rational, consistent and far-sighted approach to heating and cooling is key for ensuring such transformation. Toward this direction, district heating and cooling systems need to be more efficient, intelligent and cheaper. InDeal project will offer an innovative platform that will impose a fairly distribution of heating and cooling among the network’s buildings by: (i) real – time energy consumption data gathering via artificial intelligent meters, (ii) identifying and evaluating the network’s buildings’ need and demand for heating and cooling depending to their energy efficiency, energy consumption and type of building (EDP tool), (iii) predicting the short-term and long-term weather conditions and forthcoming need for heating and cooling (EDP tool), (iv) monitoring and control the level of energy stored in network’s storage stations and substations (SMT), (v) 24/7 monitoring of the DHC system by a central control platform and (vi) minimizing heat losses via novel pipe design solutions and innovative insulation materials. The target of InDeal is to turn the current DHCS into a new next-level automated DHCS that will guarantee the increase of the overall energy efficiency of the system accomplishing a fairly distribution of heating and cooling energy demands. In light of this, InDeal will make a significant step forward contributing to wider use of intelligent district heating and cooling systems and integration of renewables, waste and storage.

A Deep Learning approach to path finding on terrain

PI/CI: Eduardo Alonso / Gregory Slabaugh
Funder/scheme: MBDA UK Limited
Duration: 3 years (2018-20)
Amount: £9,000

The aim is to use an evaluate deep learning and reinforcement learning techniques to extract features and contextual information from terrain data, and to find a best route through the previously generated cost spaces.

Learning in Autism: A systematic computational approach

PI/CI: Sebastian Gaigg / Eduardo Alonso
Funder/scheme: Baily Thomas Charitable Fund
Duration: 1 years (2016-17)
Amount: £70,000

Recent theories suggest that reward learning abnormalities may lie at the root of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). However, relevant empirical evidence remains scarce, especially concerning those individuals who have additional intellectual impairments. In a series of pilot studies we develop the experimental methods necessary to systematically examine reward learning processes across the entire autism spectrum. The work builds foundations for a fuller understanding of the aetiology of ASD and directly inform interventions that promote learning through rewards.


  • AI Art in the Blockchain
  • Advanced Vehicles Diagnostic
  • UAD Medical Images
  • Optimisation fuel injection
  • Advice Gap in LP&I
  • FEP for Adaptive Cognition
  • Automata
  • Learning Scenes Representations
  • Partnership award
  • AI for vehicles
  • FourCmodelling
  • InDeal
  • DL to path finding
  • Learning in Autism