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Provost IMPACT Awards fund project to advance artificial intelligence hub

By Sarah Geegan and Amy Jones-Timoney 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 15, 2023) — The University of Kentucky Office of the Provost has funded eight transformative projects, supporting an inaugural cohort of IMPACT Award recipients.  

Among the projects is the UK Hub for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. The proposed project will transform the educational and research capacity of AI/ML work at UK by building a centralized hub connecting AI/ML method consumers, users, and developers.

 The UK Hub for AI/ML will position UK researchers well for transdisciplinary work, stemming from a leadership team of experts from three colleges: Arts and Sciences, Gatton College of Business and Economics and Pigman College of Engineering. The UK Hub for AI/ML will:

  • Spark and sustain a collaborative group that is well-positioned to pursue external funding mechanisms.
  • Support a transformation of learning that addresses the skills gap in AI/ML interpretations. 
  • Build an infrastructure to support AI/ML research for UK, the Commonwealth of Kentucky and beyond. 

The IMPACT initiative, announced in February, is an internal funding program designed to support transformation across UK’s colleges. The goal is to champion the hard work occurring throughout the campus, inspire greater ingenuity across the enterprise and help community members support each other, especially with a focus on educational efforts that will create new opportunities for students.

This funding is made available by the Office of the Provost and included $600,000 in nonrecurring funds for fiscal year 2023, with plans for another round of funding ($750,000) for fiscal year 2024. 

“The purpose of this initiative is to recognize and support excellence in education, innovation, service and care,” said UK Provost Robert S. DiPaola. “As evidenced by these eight impressive projects, there is a lot to be proud of at the University of Kentucky. I am tremendously grateful for the passion, persistence and sense of purpose infused throughout this work.” 

All proposals were evaluated according to the following criteria: potential of the proposed activities to transform the college in instruction, research or professional development, or any combination thereof; alignment with the university's strategic plan; transdisciplinary nature; innovation; collaboration between/among two or more colleges; and likelihood of success of the proposed activities given the budget.