News | Artificial Intelligence

Gaining valuable knowledge from world-leading researchers

NORA Research School provides exchange opportunities for PhD students in AI related fields. Mariyam Khan just arrived at The Alan Turing Institute in London for a six-month research stay.

Miriyam Khan at the Alan Turing Institute
PhD student Mariyam Khan has arrived in London for a six-month stay at The Alan Turing Institute. During her stay, she will initiate collaboration between the research group at UiB and researchers at Turing. NORA Research School provided the opportunity, giving her access to training courses and conferences at Turing, and the chance to connect to world-leading experts in her field.

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Mariyam Khan is a PhD student at the Computational Biology Unit (CBU), Department of Informatics at UiB.  She is part of the project Intelligent systems for disease risk prediction, supervised by Professor Tom Michoel.

“We develop and apply models and algorithms for causal inference in multi-omics data.  Currently we are using methods in causal inference to predict genes causal in increasing risk for coronary artery disease. My main task is to develop new statistical models and establish causal connections between genetic variants, genes, and disease risk factors, like coronary artery disease”, explains Khan, whose expertise is in statistical inference, machine learning and programming.


Khan is on a six-month research stay at The Alan Turing Institute in London through the Enrichment Scheme, an exchange opportunity provided by NORA Research School, where PhD students in AI can become members.

“The aim of the stay is to initiate collaboration between the research group at UiB and researchers at Turing”, says Khan. She is currently in talks with researchers at Turing, hoping to build a strong collaborative network there.

Career and research opportunities

The research stay will be valuable both to Khan’s research and to her career.

“As an Enrichment student, I can access the training courses, conferences and engage in collaborations with researchers at Turing. I hope to gain valuable state-of-the-art knowledge in the area of causal inference from world-leading experts in this field. Turing has a big network of researchers in my field of interest”, Khan says, and adds:

“Turing has also been in the forefront with the research and publications in this field and hence it is a great place to learn and explore, form connections and add to the research in causal inference. Forming good connections and collaborations in Turing would be very useful for my career as a researcher.
Apart from this, they have interest groups in causal inference where leading researchers in this field give talks and hold discussions. The stimulating environment at Turing will help me find good opportunities for research in my field. “

Tips for PhD students

Do you have any tips for other PhD students who would like to apply for a research stay at Turing?

“I was selected for the Turing enrichment scheme through NORA as one of three recipients of the 2022 Research Exchange Enrichment award. NORA is doing a splendid job at providing opportunities to Norwegian researchers to initiate collaborations within and outside Norway.

The first tip would be joining NORA Research School as a member and keeping yourself updated with upcoming events and opportunities. They have an exchange programme with the data science community in Germany (HIDA) as well as with Turing.

Secondly, being proactive and taking initiative as well as networking is greatly appreciated in research and will help early-stage researchers in finding good opportunities”, says Khan.

Connecting UiB and Turing

For an early-stage researcher, Turing offers great opportunities to be part of new projects, which are advertised for everyone, and Enrichment students are specifically encouraged to apply for the same. It is therefore very easy in Turing to be part of interesting projects and achieve more as a PhD student.  They have training opportunities and data study groups where students can work together towards solving real-world data science challenges.

“I would strongly encourage students at Bergen to make use of this opportunity and establish more connection between UiB and Turing”, says Mariyam Khan.

Learn from top experts in the field

The NORA Research school is a national programme for PhD students in Norway who study artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics.

According to Professor Inge Jonassen, Chair of the NORA board, it brings together students from different universities to learn from top experts in the field. Through courses, workshops, and conferences, the NORA research school helps students to learn the latest techniques and build a network with other students in the field.

How important is this offer?

“It is important for Norway to have experts in these fields because as our society becomes more digitised, artificial intelligence and machine learning are becoming increasingly important.

The NORA research school helps to create leaders and experts in these fields who can develop sustainable solutions, conduct important research, and teach others in these subjects. It can also contribute to increasing the digital skills in the general population”, says Jonassen, who is also the Head of UiB’s Department of Informatics.

“There are many good research environments in these fields in Norway, but it is challenging for each environment to offer a range of courses for its PhD students.  It therefore makes sense to join forces for a national research school that can organise courses, workshops, and conferences – giving students a better offer and building a network of Norwegian students in the field”, Jonassen says.

The importance of a national consortium for AI in Norway

The field of artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly vital internationally, both in research and education and for use in society.  It is essential to coordinate and promote the activities in the field across Norwegian universities and research institutes.

“NORA contributes to precisely such coordination and facilitation of cooperation, making it easier for individual research environments to educate their candidates, become involved in international projects, establish industrial cooperation, and contribute to innovation and the formation of new companies”, says Jonassen.

NORA also enables research communities to engage with the administration and contribute to the realization of national ambitions outlined in the national strategy for artificial intelligence.