The trailblazers: first class shapes up at Abu Dhabi's artificial intelligence university

MBZUAI also announced it had opened up the admissions cycle for a second intake of students later in 2021

Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) Campus n Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Wam
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A trailblazing group of 100 graduate-level research students will begin their studies at Abu Dhabi's Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence in January.

The inaugural class of students come from 31 countries and will pursue master's and doctoral degrees in computer vision and machine learning at the high-tech campus in Masdar City.

The university announced on Wednesday that it had also opened applications and admissions for a second batch of students, who will join in autumn 2021.

It is envisaged that the research conducted at the university will deepen the world's understanding of artificial intelligence and how best to harness it for the good of humanity.

“Building a workforce with expert technical skills will contribute towards strengthening the industrial sector in the UAE, while building our capacity for research and development … will help elevate not only industry but the country’s economy," said Dr Sultan Al Jaber, chairman of the MBZUAI board of trustees and Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology.

"A degree from MBZUAI will provide graduates with the skills and competencies to deploy the full potential of artificial intelligence for the betterment of communities, society and economies in the UAE and beyond.”

The university was launched in October 2019 and its state-of-the-art campus is already complete.

It has appointed senior faculty members, received licensing and accreditation from the UAE's Commission for Academic Accreditation, and launched a series of expert-led online seminars to build understanding of AI in the community.

The university has also formed partnerships for research with pioneering companies such as Virgin Hyperloop.

"We are thrilled that MBZUAI has received such an incredible response from graduate students around the world," said Prof Michael Brady, the interim president of the university.

Prof Brady called the first students at the institution "trailblazers".

"They will be provided with the opportunity to obtain a skillset that will set them apart in the world of AI, giving them the knowledge and understanding required to not only exceed in their careers, but to reshape the future of our societies through the immense possibilities of artificial intelligence," he said.

The university will provide all students with a full scholarship, plus benefits such as a monthly allowance, health insurance and accommodation.

Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field to be considered for the master's programmes and must hold a relevant master’s degree to be eligible for PhD programmes.

Applications to join the second cohort can be made on MBZUAI's website until April 15, 2021.