The UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Safe and Trusted AI (STAI) hosted its first annual retreat in July 2020. The retreat featured student presentations, an online social activity, and a consultation for staff and students to discuss how the first year of the programme had gone.
The CDT’s annual retreat creates an opportunity for our community (students, supervisors, directors and CDT Office) to come together to hear about the ongoing research of our students, to engage in team-building activities and to review the previous year and plan for the future of the programme. Restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 situation meant that the annual retreat could not take place in person as a residential activity this year as planned, and was instead successfully delivered online. This year the retreat included:
- two afternoons of student talks in which each student provided an update on progress in their PhD work to the wider CDT community, and addressed questions raised by their peers;
- a social event including a virtual ‘Bake Off’, a ‘letter challenge’ in which participants had to photograph something (possibly that they made) showing one of the letters in “STAI CDT”, a quiz and a scavenger hunt; and
- a student consultation morning, which saw students, directors and CDT Office come together to review the progress made in the programme and to discuss the second year of the programme for the students.
Despite having to do this online, the retreat was a great opportunity for all of us to come together to reflect on our achievements over the past year, and for students to present their PhD projects. Both students and staff enjoyed the social activities, including some very creative interpretations of our “STAI CDT” letters in the letter challenge. We look forward to hosting our second annual retreat next July, hopefully residentially, for our first and second student cohorts!