The UKRI Centre for Doctoral Training in Artificial Intelligence and Music (AIM) is a leading PhD research programme aimed at the Music/Audio Technology and Creative Industries. Based at Queen Mary University of London, AIM students undertake a four year PhD focused on developing cutting-edge research in collaboration with our industry partners.

AIM will train a new generation of researchers who combine state-of-the-art ability in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and signal processing with cross-disciplinary sensibility to deliver groundbreaking original research and impact within the UK Creative Industries (CI) and cultural sector. The CDT will take a cohort-based approach, drawing on a supervisory team of over 30 academics led by QMUL’s Centre for Digital Music (C4DM), a world-leading research group in the area of music and audio technology. The entire training approach, from the strategic focus to the topics of individual PhD projects, will be guided by C4DM’s network of industrial and cultural partners, ranging from large companies and high-profile arts venues to a vibrant network of SMEs including several successful QMUL spin-out companies. Each PhD student will undertake a personalised programme of research supported by specialist taught modules, industrial placements, skills training, and opportunities for co-creation with cultural partners.

AIM’s research focus is structured along three themes identified as requiring intensive attention and integration:

  1. Music understanding, encompassing machine listening, intelligent signal processing, and data- and knowledge-driven approaches to music content modelling and analysis;
  2. Intelligent instruments and interfaces, encompassing embedded intelligence and intelligent sensing for music performance, production, listening and education, and applications of AI to human-computer interaction in creative contexts;
  3. Computational creativity, encompassing generative music composition, automated accompaniment systems, and systems for expressive musical performance and assisted production.

The AIM programme has four main pillars:

  1. Advanced taught modules, a bespoke programme of modules in years 1-2
  2. Researcher development training of the cohort throughout years 1-4
  3. Industry placement typically completed in year 2 or 3
  4. PhD research project throughout years 1-4

For each student, a Personal Development Plan (PDP) will be developed at the beginning of year 1 comprising a rich programme of taught modules, training courses and events. This will take the specific goals of the selected PhD topic and the student’s academic background into account. Students will be expected to complete four core modules (selected from five) in the first year and two specialist modules that are most relevant to their research in the second year. ┬áThe core modules are:

  1. Machine Learning
  2. Research Methods and Responsible Innovation
  3. Music Informatics
  4. Music and Audio Programming.
  5. Deep Learning for Audio and Music

Optional modules will be selected to match the theme of the PhD. These include Music Perception and Cognition, Music and Speech Modelling, Big Data Processing, Sound Recording & Production Techniques, Digital Audio Effects, Design for Human Interaction, The Semantic Web, Computational Creativity and Artificial Intelligence as well as business and entrepreneurship courses among over 30 relevant modules available. The PDP will be flexible enough to address gaps in students’ academic background and/or avoid repetition by replacing any modules already taken in previous degrees with relevant alternatives.


The AIM CDT is supported by the UKRI and EPSRC under grant EP/S022694/1.