Thank you to everyone who took part in AI Impact Weekend 2020: AI and Climate Change

St Cross students win Oxford Foundry's "AI Impact Weekend"



Are you concerned about the climate crisis? Have you ever wondered how AI can be used to help limit global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius and reduce the worst effects and risks of climate change?

Then you should definitely sign up for our third annual AI Impact Weekend delivered in collaboration with EY.

Come along and form inter-disciplinary teams and learn how to build innovative, financially viable and ethically responsible AI-based solutions to address one aspect of climate change of your choosing.

You will gain new skills, learn from some brilliant mentors from industry and academia, and could win some amazing prizes!

The Task:

Over the Weekend, inter-disciplinary teams will design an innovative, financially viable and ethically responsible AI-based solution to address one aspect of global warming of their choosing. Each project should directly address the question of how AI can help limit global warming. Additional reading will be provided to participants to help them better understand the various problem areas related to climate change, as well as the opportunities for AI application, to help teams determine their individual projects. For example, projects could include designing an AI solution that will lower emissions and energy demand, increase efficiency, or encourage a shift away from fossil-fuel-based infrastructure and reliance. Another example is designing an AI solution that will encourage increased public or private awareness and help drive climate action to reduce emissions.




Friday 7 February 2020, 3.30pm - 9.00pm

AI educational games, information session, Panel discussion, and team-forming mixer social.

Panel discussion 6.00pm - 7.00pm with Roz Savage MBE and Prof Cameron Hepburn. 

The AI Games are a fantastic chance for you to develop some practical, hands-on skills in using AI, particularly if you are non-techie and have had no experience using AI before!

The Information Session will show you how to access the datasets. This will be followed by a high-profile panel discussion on the potential of AI to combat climate change. A panel of experts from industry, academia, entrepreneurship, and government will address fundamental questions on the use of AI in climate change. 

The team mixer will take place in the evening to give you the opportunity to form your team! Grab a drink and mingle, share your thoughts on the use of A.I. for tackling climate change and hear students pitch some of the ideas that you might work on over the course of the weekend.

Saturday 8 February 2020, 9.00am - 9.30pm

A weekend of Solution Building, supported by specialist mentors. Datasets provided by IBM, 1:1 mentoring and expert guidance. Plus a happy hour, food and drink throughout the weekend. You'll work in inter-disciplinary teams of 3-5 people, using your collective skills and the data and materials provided to create an actionable solution which holistically accounts for a range of considerations across four key areas: technical, business viability, societal considerations, and overall innovation.

(Breakfast, lunch and snacks will be provided)

Sunday 9 February 2020, 8.30am - 7.00pm

Creative problem solving in teams.

Tuesday 11 February 2020 Pitch night and prize giving, 5.30 - 8.30pm

The whole experience wraps up with an exciting pitch event, open to all, book now, where student teams present their A.I.-based solution to an audience of peers and professionals, and the expert panel makes a judgement on whose proposal is the strongest.

All events will take place at the Oxford Foundry, and have been developed in collaboration with EY.

Our work complements the University of Oxford's AixSDG initiative


Open to ALL current University of Oxford students, undergrads, postgrads, DPhils, both techie and non-techie 🤝. If you're curious about AI, and want to get some real hands-on skills in using emerging tech to address global problems, this is for YOU.

**No previous knowledge of A.I. or associated technologies required**


Here are some of the benefits of taking-part. Even if you don't win (which we hope you will), there are still loads of benefits:

😀 Meet over 30 mentors and industry career contacts

Meets lots of industry, corporate and entrepreneur mentors. Student Amy Kao found a role at EY after meeting contacts at AI Impact Weekend.  Mentors include: 

- work with people from different disciplines and with different skills

There'll be a fantastic mix of people taking part. Students and staff from all Colleges and Divisions. Meet people with different skills and experiences. 

🌍 Help solve a vital problem and make a positive difference to society

Use tech for good and use your skills and talent to give back and contribute to society.

💯 Gain new skills

Pick up valuable skills in Ai, communication, pitching, creative problem-solving, data analyse, team-work, and much more to help you in your career journey.

🙌 Be inspired

Meet our inspiring speakers and expert judges and learn from their journeys and experiences.

🎉 Have fun!

Free food and drink throughout the weekend, a happy hour and networking mixer.

🏆 Win Top Prizes!

Get follow on support

All finalists get a Startup Sprint tailored bootcamp. 

Get an exclusive goodie bag and certificate of participation 

How are solutions judged? 

Projects will be assessed on four areas: technical (25%); societal considerations (25%); business case (25%); overall innovation (25%). The panel of judges includes Ngaire Woods (Dean, Blavatnik School of Government).

The team with the best overall solution will win an incredible prize to be announced soon. Previous prizes have included educational week-long trips to Silicon Valley and California's Palm Springs.

The team with the best technical solution will win a £500 cash prize.

The team whose solution has the strongest non-tech solution - including the consideration of the idea's business case, and its societal considerations (e.g. ethical, regulatory and political), as outlined in the judging criteria - will win a £500 cash prize.

Everyone taking part will receive a certificate of participation signed by EY and a goodie bag. 6 finalist teams will receive follow-on support.


No. The majority of students (Undergraduates, Postgraduates, and DPhil's) form their multi-disciplinary teams at our Team Formation Mixer on the Friday evening over drinks and canapes.


Who were on the 2018 and 2019 winning teams? READ ABOUT THE WINNERS

2020 Winners - AI and Climate Change

Team Cinderella

Term Pyre-ates

Team Climate Development Lab


2019 Winners – AI in People Selection:

Niles Breuer – Department of Sociology

Andrew Sanchez – Department of History

Sophia Sosnina – Department of Physics

Miha Zgubic – Department of Physics

Vid Kocijan - Department of Computer Science

2018 Winners – AI and Fake News:

Amy Kao – Department of Psychiatry

Odhran O’donoghue – Nuffield Department of Clinical Medicine

Vid Kocijan – Department of Computer Science

Anna Jungbluth - Department of Physics

Robin Van Aeken – Said Business School

Expert mentors include:

Robert Spencer, Director, Sustainable Development, AECOM

Helena Webb - Senior Researcher, Human Centred Computing, Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford 

Dr Phil Grünewald (FICE), EPSRC Fellow, Energy Programme, ECI 

Pegram Harrison, Senior Fellow in Entrepreneurship, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

Stuart Armstrong, Senior Researcher, Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford University 

Thomas Morstyn, Research Fellow, Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford 

Katherine Collett, Engineering Department, University of Oxford 

Dr Jun Zhao, Senior Researcher, Human Centred Computing, Department of Computer Science, University of Oxford 

Phil Levermore, Chief Executive, Ebico

Lucas Kruitwagen - Data Scientist, Oxford Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment 

Sam Bickersteth – CEO, Opportunity International  

Ajit Jaokar - Course Director: Artificial Intelligence – Cloud and Edge implementations course – University of Oxford

 Vishal Punwani MD, CEO @ Sophya




“Now more than ever, we need to create and support new ventures that will take on tough societal and environmental challenges around poverty, inequality and climate change. The Oxford Foundry
is showing its value in this important work – working with industry and academia, it is creating an entrepreneurial centre that will benefit all society. The number of high-calibre and high-impact ventures it has already generated and supported is impressive.”

Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever & Chair of the Board SBS

“Innovation requires a deep level of collaboration between universities, start-ups, governments and business communities. At EY, we believe that idea generation, experiential learning and the
development of an entrepreneurial mindset are key to creating an innovation-friendly ecosystem. We are proud to share these core tenets with the Oxford Foundry and support its efforts to foster an
innovative spirit.”

Jeff Wong, Global Chief Innovation Officer, EY

Getting involved with the AI Impact Weekend gave me valuable skills and experience in creative problem-solving and effective teamwork. The Foundry has also connected me to an amazing
group of fellow students, who have become both friends and innovation partners as we’ve travelled a new entrepreneurial path together. Upon graduating, I’ve taken up a Senior Associate role
with EY Global in London, continuing and building on connections first made through the Foundry’s relationship with EY.”

Amy Kao, DPhil, Neurobiology and Experimental Therapeutics

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with the Foundry team to deliver their annual AI Impact Weekend challenge. Oxford students from across the University are bursting with innovative ideas, and it
has been a privilege for members of the EY team of global business and tech experts to get directly involved and play a part in nurturing and feeding this incredible talent.

Dawn Quinn, Director at EY, OXFO Ambassador

The AI Impact Weekend was the first time I competed in an Oxford Foundry event and most of our team had not competed in a Foundry event before. A few hours into the event, our team chose a specific problem to work on. We agreed immediately, if we won any prize money we would use it to develop the idea. I think we were all surprised when we were actually announced as the overall winners. The support of the judges was a tremendous vindication. I think the interdisciplinary nature of our team helped. We combined our expertise in artificial intelligence (AI), engineering, law and business to develop a holistic plan. Several members of our team had never met before, but the cooperation was seamless. True to our original commitment, we recently joined a startup incubator and we plan to use the £6,000 to perform market research and develop a prototype. We are looking for strategic partners to help us better understand the operations of shipping lines and ports. I never imagined that participating in a single competition could create such a change in my life. I encourage anyone with an interest in entrepreneurship to participate in the events at the Foundry. Our team serves as proof: no previous experience is required!

Dylan Barratt, DPhil Student, Dpt of Engineering Science