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World’s First AI University in Abu Dhabi Welcomes Its First Students

Admissions are more than doubled for the inaugural academic year at Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) due to worldwide demand. The University is the world’s first graduate-level, research-based artificial intelligence (AI) university, is preparing to welcome its first international cohort of students in early 2021.

Launched as an open invitation from Abu Dhabi to the world to unleash AI’s full potential, MBZUAI says it has extended admission offers to 101 students from 31 countries for the first academic year commencing in January. Initial plans were to accept 50 students in the first year, but due to the impressive number of applications received, the decision was made to extend admissions offers to more students.

Of these students, 82 have been offered admissions in the university’s MSc programs in Computer Vision and in Machine Learning, while 19 have been selected for MBZUAI’s PhD programs in the same fields.

Students in the first cohort come from across the world. Twentyone per cent come from the UAE, 13 per cent from other parts of the Middle East, 38 per cent from Asia, 21 per cent from Africa, and nearly ten per cent from the Americas and Europe.

There will also be a strong female representation in MBZUAI’s first academic year with women comprising 30 per cent of admitted students. Over 23 per cent of female students who have received offers from the university are Emirati, while 13 per cent come from India and ten per cent from Syria.

Admitted students have received education at some of the world’s leading universities, including prestigious institutions such as the National University of Singapore, University of Melbourne, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Purdue University, University of York, University of Minnesota, Queen’s University of Belfast, Arizona State University, and Khalifa University in the UAE.

Professor Sir Michael Brady, interim president, Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, says:

“The university received applications from some exceptionally talented graduate students from nearly one hundred countries, all of whom have compelling stories.

“This incredibly diverse first cohort will truly bring the world to MBZUAI, creating a multicultural campus that celebrates diversity and international collaboration. Our hope from the very beginning was for the university to inspire the development of AI on a global scale. With students from around the world, all of whom come from different backgrounds and industries. This is a solid start to realising the full potential of AI for positive progress around the world.”

Salem Almarri is one of the students who will join the PhD Computer Vision program next year.

“As an Emirati, it is essential for me to develop world-class solutions for the UAE, to make my mark on the AI sector. AI will give humanity a chance to develop a new world based on better solutions. MBZUAI will contribute towards this by bridging the gap between research, government, and the private sector. Also, empowering graduates to become expert consultants who can provide the UAE with the means to gain more growth in the future development of AI and machine learning.”

Kevin Michael Toner, from Ireland, will join the MSc Computer Vision program:

“Today, artificial intelligence is redefining the future of every industry and impacting human lives in an unprecedented way. As demand for specialised AI education increases globally, joining a world-class university like MBZUAI will help expand my horizons and connect me to an international network of AI industry experts.”

With the first admissions cycle completed, the university has recently started accepting applications for the autumn 2021 cohort.

Located in Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence campus features futuristic classrooms and research laboratories, an AI-specialised knowledge centre, and recreational facilities. Launched in October 2019, the university aims to empower students, businesses and governments to advance artificial intelligence as a global force for positive progress.

Photo: WAM Emirates News Agency