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GCHQ Launches Fellowship Scheme – With Unusually Relaxed Terms

"New technologies present fresh challenges, and this fellowship provides us with a great opportunity to work with the many experts in these fields"

By CBR Staff Writer

Signals intelligence and cyber agency GCHQ has launched a new fellowship scheme that will fund advanced research work into national security priorities around Artificial Intelligence (AI), deep fakes, and other emerging technologies.

Unusually, the GCHQ fellowship — which will link successful applicants with a GCHQ adviser for six-months — has no nationality restrictions and will not require any security vetting, the Cheltenham-based agency confirmed today.

See also: Former GCHQ Director Robert Hannigan – Regulators Will Need to Do More on IIoT Security

Successful GCHQ fellowship applicants will get £75,000 over six months. The programme is open to individuals in industry, academia, defence, and the civil service. (Non-UK citizens will need to have been resident for five years).

The first call spans proposals across:

Societal resilience

  • Identifying and countering nefarious social media influencing campaigns, fake news and deep fakes
  • Smart Cities

Building in security

  • Working safely on the cloud
  • The ethics of Artificial Intelligence

Analysing security

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  • 5G mobile
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(Cheltenham-based GCHQ works closely with MI5, the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), law enforcement, the military and international partners to counter threats from nation states, criminal groups, terrorists and individuals. It is running the programme from its newly opened Manchester offices and has partnered with Manchester-based facilitator The Landing to help facilitate it. Submissions need to be in by August 30.)

They can be made here.

GCHQ fellowship


“GCHQ operates at the cutting edge of technology, whether that’s artificial intelligence, quantum computing, or machine learning. New technologies present fresh challenges, and this fellowship provides us with a great opportunity to work with the many experts in these fields,” a GCHQ spokesperson said today.

They added: “Only by working together can we devise the ingenious solutions needed to capitalise on the opportunities these technologies present, secure the UK’s future prosperity, and keep the country safe from those who wish to do us harm.”

GCHQ Fellowship: Applicants Retain their IP 

The programme will offer applicants the opportunity to “work with GCHQ on some of the trickiest technology challenges. By engaging with a GCHQ mentor, it is hoped that participants can develop cutting-edge techniques which support national security priorities and help keep the country safe”, GCHQ explained of the programme which will be run from its new offices in Manchester, which opened in 2019.

The research fellowship – formally titled the Research Fellowship Programme for National Resilience” – has a theme of “Digital Excellence: Leveraging Expertise’’. Applicants will be judged on their research track record, novelty of approach, vision and the potential impact of their proposal, GCHQ said.

They will not be expected to work on the programme full time, but will be expected to provide updates during regular contact with their GCHQ advisor, monthly reports and through a formal three-month review. A final report will be due at the end of the six-month period.

In terms of any Intellectual Property (IP) emerging from the programme, the agency explained: “The UK National Security community would normally expect right of use of any Intellectual Property (IP) generated during the period of the Research Fellowship.”

But while it would expect use, it will not own any IP rights from the research: “All rights, title and interests in the foreground IP shall be owned by the awardee’s host university or organisation”.

See also: GCHQ Opts for Radical Transparency: Publishes Its Own Vulnerability Disclosure/Non-Disclosure Process

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