Summer Scholarships for Black Student - Studying at KMi


Summer Scholarships for Black Students 2022

A KMi Scholarship provides financial support for students to use hot technologies to solve societal challenges and positively impact the world around us.

The scholarship package includes a bursary of £2,700, mentoring, and support from researchers, students and technicians who work in our project spaces. The bursary will cover living costs or make up for a loss of earnings during the summer, while you carry out a project lasting 6 to 8 weeks. The project may be conducted online, at the Open University campus, or both.

Which of these challenges excites you?

Challenge 1 - How to tell people they're wrong: Explaining misinformation on social media

Challenge 1: How to tell people they're wrong: Explaining misinformation on social media

Subject Area: Social Media Analysis and Misinformation

Supervisory Team: Retno Larasati, Tracie Farrell and Gregoire Burel

Short description of the general project area:
Misinformation is a big challenge on social media, where stories can be shared quickly across enormous global networks. Social media users may not always pay much attention to where the news is coming from or if it could be misleading. People tend to trust their intuitions about information on the basis that it "feels true" or fits with existing beliefs. So how can you correct misinformation once it's there? Explanations via automated misinformation detection approaches may focus on pointing individuals to related fact-checks or even direct removal of content. Do users understand these explanations? Will they be convincing? In this project, the scholar will collect and analyse data on how people respond to being corrected online, what works and doesn't, what's appreciated and not, to formulate better responses to this problem.

Challenge 2 - Building musical knowledge graphs

Challenge 2: Building musical knowledge graphs

Subject Area: Knowledge graph technologies

Supervisory Team: Enrico Daga and Paul Mulholland

Short description of the general project area:
Do you like music and computer science? This project takes inspiration from recent research in Musical Cultural Heritage undertaken under the EU-funded Polifonia Project ( The objective is to transform and integrate musical content for the benefit of scholars, researchers, and music practitioners.

Knowledge Graph Construction (KGC) is gaining momentum due to its ability to provide integrated and homogeneous access to heterogeneous resources. Typically, this is achieved by applying tools that behave as adaptors between the data sources and the needed syntactic format and data model. This is the approach taken by SPARQL Anything (, a novel system for Knowledge Graph construction developed by the OU Knowledge Media Institute. However, existing tools focus on common data formats such as CSV, XML, or JSON and are not typically tailored to music-specific formats.

The project aims at applying and eventually extending SPARQL Anything. The scholar will learn languages and methods for interaction with knowledge graphs and apply them to musical content. Crucially, they will have the opportunity to contribute to the open-source project SPARQL Anything and learn good collaborative, open software development practices.

Challenge 3 - Turning TikTok Content into NFTs

Challenge 3: Turning TikTok Content into NFTs

Subject Area: Blockchains

Supervisory Team: John Domingue, Aisling Third and Michelle Bachler

Short description of the general project area:
Since its launch on the international market in September 2017, TikTok has taken the online world by storm. In 2021 CloudFare ranked TikTok as the number one website globally, usurping Google. The TikTok mobile app allows users to create short (15 second) videos with music that can be sped up, slowed down or filtered. NFTs or non-fungible tokens are non-interchangeable units of data stored on a distributed ledger or blockchain which can be used to prove ownership over a valuable asset. NFTs have appeared in the news recently for representing proof of ownership of digital artwork.

This project will combine these two hot technologies to empower TikTok creators. Specifically, we will enable users to assert creative ownership over their TikTok content to do with as they wish. For example, to publicise or to sell. The scholar will learn how to develop applications incorporating both TikTok and NFTs.

Key Dates

  • The project will start no earlier than 20th June and no later than 25th July and will run for between 6 - 8 weeks.

What happens at the end of the project?

The results will be shared with KMi, for example, by uploading a report in the OU's Open Research Online repository (ORO), by depositing data or code in the Open Research Data Online repository (ORDO) or by making a short video to show your findings.

About KMi

KMi is a Computer Science Research & Development Lab. We are a diverse, multi-national bunch passionate about what we do. We treat everyone as a valued team member, be they professors, researchers, post-grad students or other non-academic staff. We believe in research that impacts the real world with real users.

A Photo of all KMi staff

Aims of the Scholarship

Among the visitors who come to KMi every summer, there has been an under-representation of black people. Black people are also under-represented among computer science post-doctoral students. This annual scholarship, now in its third year, aims to improve representation and create greater awareness of computer science research.

Previously supported scholars

Scholarship - Photo of Azizah Blackwood

Azizah Blackwood

Project: Misinfo.Me Bot

Supervisors: Tracie Farrell and Lara Piccolo

Scholarship - Photo of Reece Davis

Reece Davis

Project: Benchmarking Environmental Sensors

Supervisor: Lara Piccolo

Scholarship - Photo of Kaushal Kumar

Kaushal Kumar

Project: Robot Assistants in the Wild

Supervisors: Agnese Chiatti and Gianluca Bardaro


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The Open University
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