Early Career Researcher Winter School

AI for Science, Technology and Innovation Policy

13 November – 17 November 2023

Manchester Institute of Innovation Research 

Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, United Kingdom

This Early Career Research Training School will address the development and use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies in the context of Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy.

About the AI4STIP Winter School

The AI for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (AI4STIP) Winter School will consider the implications of rapidly emerging AI technologies for science, technology, and innovation (STI) management and policy. Analyses and assessments of the rise of AI technologies in science, industry and society will be combined with training to improve technical understanding of AI methods that can be applied to STI policy topics (including participants’ projects and research themes) while also considering ethical and responsible research and innovation approaches.

While broadly addressing a range of AI technologies, there will be a particular focus in the course on understanding, gaining hands-on experience with, and considering the policy implications of generative AI and large language models (LLMs), which represent the latest, most capable, and (to date) most contentious of currently available AI approaches.

Learning Objectives

The school is targeted to doctoral researchers and early career researchers (ECRs) who have research and policy interests in how AI intersects with science, technology, and innovation policy.

The learning objectives of the school are to provide participants with:

  • Improved comprehension of AI’s development and prospects, how AI is framed and shaped as an emerging technology in society, and the opportunities and risks currently presented by AI.
  • Enhanced understandings of debates about AI and interrelated ethics, societal, and STI policy aspects and of theoretical perspectives and approaches to the analysis of AI4STIP.
  • Critical understandings of how LLMs and other leading-edge AI systems are built and operated, and training in new methodological skills on how AI methods can be used in research with attention to ethics and responsible research and innovation.
  • Engagement with the challenges of developing ethical and responsible AI for STI and consideration of current and proposed AI regulatory and policy responses.
  • Interactions with leading scholars and practitioners in the field and mentorship to help participants advance their own research projects.
  • Opportunities to work in small groups to deliver an AI-informed piece of policy analysis.

Format and Content

The AI4STIP Winter School will be structured with a mix of short lectures, case presentations, discussion, and hands-on exercises, comprising:

AI and ethics, society, and policy: Introduction to understanding what AI is, how it has developed, and who is developing AI. Discussion of issues of ethics, risk, bias, data security and other societal concerns associated with AI, and of guidelines and frameworks to address AI risk and responsible research and innovation. Discussion of the rise of generative AI/LLMs and how these models present both opportunities and risks. Consideration of how AI is being applied in the domains of science (scientific research), in industry (AI manufacturing), and in civil society (e.g., automated vehicles; facial recognition). Discussion of different national developmental and regulatory frameworks. Consideration of how AI can responsibly be used in STI research and policy analysis.

AI methods and labs: In method-themed sessions, participants will learn about ethical and responsible AI use, data protection, and AI oriented solutions and their integration into research. Signposting will be provided on available AI models, especially open-source models that are available with no or minimal cost. Participants will gain hands-on experience in data retrieval, structuring, and applying Generative AI and LLMs in research contexts. They will also be introduced to the use of APIs, effective prompt writing, the role of text mining and machine learning techniques, and how to evaluate the performance, validity, and reliability of AI models.  In lab sessions, participants will actively apply their AI methodological knowledge, practice interpreting the results generated by their AI models, and learn essential skills to identify and fix errors.

Group project: In the group project segment, participants will have the opportunity to put their acquired knowledge into practice. They will work in teams to apply the learned methods and implementation strategies on a selected topic related to science, innovation, and policy.

Individual presentations: Each participant will also concisely present their individual research, highlighting potential applications, benefits, and risks of AI. There will be opportunities for Q&A. Feedback will be provided by workshop faculty.

Integrative and policy activities: The workshop location in Manchester presents excellent opportunities to engage with researchers at the leading edge of AI development, to explore the rich legacy of the city in computing and AI development, and to engage in policy discussion.

Faculty and Winter School Organisers

  • Philip Shapira, Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, University of Manchester; School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Arash Hajikhani, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
  • Barbara Ribeiro, SKEMA Business School and Manchester Institute of Innovation Research
  • Justin Biddle, ETHICx, School of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Cornelia Lawson, Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, University of Manchester
  • Carolyn Cole, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

Additional keynote speakers will be invited.

Advisory Group

An advisory group has been established to provide further input into the programme. Members of the advisory group include Cassidy Sugimoto, Georgia Institute of Technology; Catherine Beaudry, Polytechnique Montreal; José Antônio Puppim de Oliveira, FGV, Brazil; and Alistair Nolan, OECD.


AI4STIP has received sponsorship from the European Forum for Studies of Policies for Research and Innovation (Eu-SPRI Forum). Additional support is provided by the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research, the Alliance Manchester Business School, the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, ETHICx and the School of Public Policy at Georgia Institute of Technology, the Partnership for the Organisation of Innovation and New Technologies (4POINT0) at the Polytechnique Montréal, and the SKEMA Centre for AI (SCAI) at the SKEMA Business School.

Eligibility and Selection of Participants

The AI4STIP Winter School welcomes applications from doctoral students and ECRs engaged in science, technology, and innovation policy research and who also have interests in learning about and responsibly applying AI methods to their own STI research.  We also welcome applications from those who are undertaking research on AI from within or outside the social sciences and policy is a key dimension of interest.

  • Doctoral candidates should be registered as students in a recognised doctoral programme.
  • ECRs should not be more than 3 years from award of their PhD. (Use 1 July 2020 as the reference date. An extension of eligibility can be requested.)

The Winter School seeks to engage with and bridge transatlantic debates and approaches to AI for STI ethics, societal concerns, and policies in Europe and the Americas. It is anticipated that the Winter School will involve a mix of participants from the UK/Europe, the Americas, and elsewhere.

Up to 30 participants will be invited to the Winter School, following faculty and advisory group review of applications.  Early application is advised.  It is likely that we will not be able to accommodate all applicants.

Prior computer science, coding, or AI programming experience is not required. We do seek to recruit participants who are actively pursuing research topics that are within or related to AI4STIP and who have an interest in learning how to develop and responsibly apply AI methods, including LLMs, to their research.

Timing, Fees, and Logistics

The Winter School will be held at the Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom, from 8:45 a.m. on Monday, 13 November 2023 through to 4 p.m. on Friday, 17 November 2023. Some evenings will be scheduled for talks.

Participants (particularly those from outside of Greater Manchester) should plan to arrive on Sunday, 12 November and stay for either 5 or 6 nights, depending on whether they can depart on Friday evening after the Winter School closes or on Saturday, 18 November.

For participants selected from EU-SPRI member institutions there is no programme fee.  Main meals and (if not already Manchester-based) hotel lodging (up to 6 nights) during the Winter School will be provided without additional  Eu-SPRI participant cost. A list of EU-SPRI member institutions is available here: https://euspri-forum.eu/member-organisations/

For participants selected from other (non-EU-SPRI) institutions, there is a programme fee of £450 (GBP) which will also include main meals and hotel lodging (up to 6 nights) during the Winter School.

The Winter School is unable to support travel costs to reach Manchester. Travel costs for EU-SPRI participants may be covered by their home institutions. We anticipate that our international partners will assist in sourcing funding to support non-EU SPRI participation in covering travel and programme fee costs. In certain cases, international partners may provide scholarships to cover travel and hotel costs in lieu of the programme fee, with the Winter School providing meals.

The language of instruction will be English.

Particular attention will be given to ensuring equity, diversity, and inclusiveness in participant recruitment and selection. The Winter School welcomes applications irrespective of nationality or country of origin.

Many non-UK/EU applicants will not need a visa to enter the UK to participate in the Winter School. However, if in any doubt, please check https://www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa to ascertain your status (academic visit, less than 6 months).

How to apply

Applicants are asked to submit

  • A one page application cover letter which indicates (a) your interest in participating in the Winter School and how it relates to your research and career development, and (b) the use case(s) you envisage for AI in the context of your STI-related research. The letter should also indicate (c) if the applicant is (or is not) associated with a named EU-SPRI institution; (d) the city and country where you currently reside and where you would travel from;  and (e) whether you will/will not need a visa to enter the UK.  If you request an extension of ECR eligibility, please (f) provide a brief explanation.
  • An academic CV. Please ensure that this CV includes your university or work email address.

The initial closing date for applications is 1 September 2023, with a subsequent additional application date if required. Early application is advised, as we anticipate a high demand for places, and we also may make early admission offers. Additional details about the course and logistics will be provided to accepted applicants.

Please submit applications via email to: Holly Crossley, email: holly.crossley@manchester.ac.uk

Attach your Cover Letter and CV as a PDF file.

Further information

If you have any questions about the Winter School and its content, contact: pshapira@manchester.ac.uk