The STAI CDT Annual Retreat 2023 took place over two days in July and was an opportunity to bring all 4 cohorts together away from their normal environment for team building, workshops and tutorials. 41 of our students took part alongside the management team at Cumberland Lodge, Windsor.
The first day featured a Scrapheap Challenge Team Building Session, where the aim was to create a chain reaction from one end of a field to the other, using objects/processes made out of scrap. Students and staff were mixed together in small teams with their own zones. Each team had to create one chain reaction that linked together with the groups next to them. All zones eventually linked up to form one big chain reaction transporting energy from one end to the other. It was fun and collaborative, and great to see some of the creative ways that groups built their parts of the overall chain!
We were joined by Caitlin Bentley (new Co-Director of the STAI CDT and Lecturer in AI Education, King’s College London), Jeremy Bradley (Chief Data Scientist, Datasparq), Mark Law (Director, ILASP), Francesco Leofante (Research Fellow, Imperial College) and Claudia Schulz (Applied Research Scientist, Thomson Reuters) in the afternoon for an informative panel and discussion about diverse career paths in AI. This was an opportunity for students to ask questions and think about potential career options after their PhDs, as well as to reflect on opportunities they might want to gain through internships during their training. Students had the chance to attend a career workshop the next day on building their brands and networking.
Our students were also central to activities at the Annual Retreat, as STAI CDT PhD student Francis Rhys Ward led a Causality Tutorial alongside Tom Everitt (Google DeepMind) and James Fox (University of Oxford) and STAI CDT PhD students Mackenzie Jorgensen and Jazon Szabo led a discussion on AI Ethics.
The Annual Retreat was a great success and a fun-filled couple of days with plenty of opportunities for collaboration, rest and learning. We look forward to our new cohort joining for the 2024 Annual Retreat next July.