Please rate my application (Exceptional Promise)

Hi there, I’m in the last stages of curating my Exceptional Promise application. I’m eager to get opinions on the same and see if I could improve it in any way. Here’s an overview:

Desired occupation: Applied Researcher in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP), while simultaneously pursuing a PhD in AI at the University of Edinburgh (part-time) to aid my job

Optional Criteria: OC2, OC4

Biography: I am a researcher in NLP at the University of Edinburgh (UoE), where I’ve been working for a year. My most recent venture was on an EU-funded project revolving around creating Machine Translation models for the media giants, the BBC and the Deutsche Welle - where i led the creation of models in the Urdu language which, along with other translation models, are directly used by their journalists to aid global press activity (Evidence 7). I’ve also conducted academic NLP research as part of this role (Evidence 6). Previously, I interned at IBM Research which resulted in a full-paper publication at EMNLP 2021 - one of the two top-ranked conferences in NLP (Evidence 5) and a shout-out from the COO and VP of IBM.

I’ve also made a variety of community contributions - starting with open-source (Evidence 3), then more research-oriented as my focus shifted. I’ve thus contributed to premier AI research evaluation initatives (Evidences 1 and 2), given conference presentations (Evidence 4) and most recently, serving as reviewer for the highly prestigious EMNLP 2022 (latter half of Evidence 5)

I now wish to work at product-led AI tech companies - with my first stop being an NLP-based startup chosen as part of Tech Nation’s FinTech 3.0. This startup employs much of the NLP group at UoE, and is co-founded by my advisor. I include an endorsement letter from the CEO of this company in Evidence 10. Simultaneously, I wish to pursue a PhD at UoE to keep in touch with and contribute to the latest state-of-the-art in AI research, helping me create better products for this startup (endorsed by my PhD advisors + startup CEO)

Experience: I’ve only had one year of work experience post graduation, but all throughout university I’ve worked on research projects, internships and community contribution efforts, especially in the last 3-4 years - the achievements of which I’m using for this application.


  1. (OC2, OC4, MC) Proof of victory at an annual international AI research competition. The AI system that i created (called “VeeAlign”) was based on my project findings of my internship at IBM research, but was done outside of my immediate occupation (IBM supervisor asserts this) Also includes proof of impact on future work at IBM and the larger research community (as evidenced by large citation count)

  2. (OC2, OC4, MC) System paper I published at a reputed AI conference based on the VeeAlign system mentioned in Evidence 1. Also includes endorsement letter from a global expert, who is a Professor at the University of Oxford, a pioneer of modern-day AI and a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS). While I have never worked with him before, as one of the main leaders in my research field he is familiar with my work and speaks to its impact. Since this is related to Evidence 1, I’m presenting it as “Part 2” of Evidence 1

  3. (OC2, MC) Successful completion of the Google Summer of Code (GSoC) 2018, involving contributions to an open-source repository for 3 months + proof of recognition (stipends from Google, completion certificates etc)

  4. (OC2, OC4, MC) Presenting at my research at top NLP/AI conferences with significant attendance. Included 4 conferences from 2019-2021, the most major of which had 3600 attendees

  5. (OC2, OC4, MC) Full paper publication at the proceedings of the main conference EMNLP 2021 (OC4). Conducted academic research about VeeAlign (Evidence 1). Also provided proof of how, in recognition for this work and my other contributions to research, I was invited to serve on the review committee of EMNLP 2022 (OC2), where I work to recommend papers for acceptance/rejection at one of the premier conferences in NLP in the world.

  6. (OC4, MC) Research done at University of Edinburgh, converted into a full-paper publication under review at EMNLP 2022. Recommendation letter from my supervisor (one of the best-known names in NLP who has chaired several top AI/NLP conferences including EMNLP) endorses its world-class quality, industrial applications and mentions its likelihood of acceptance (“academic research endorsed by an expert”).

  7. (MC) Led the creation of a product (Urdu Machine Translation AI models for the BBC) containing product creation and documentation efforts. Includes proof for how it was found by the BBC to be both highest-performing as well as the fastest among all released models, and also for how it is directly used by BBC and DW products to aid journalism

  8. (MC) High salary: Statistics regarding current pay at UoE and during internships (at IBM Research, GSoC) etc showing consistently high pay with regard to national average

  9. (MC) Glowing recommendation letter from my future PhD advisor (Chair @ Alan Turing Institute, Reader @ UoE). Although he hasn’t worked with me previously, he endorses the merit of my application wrt research (based on his experience interviewing me) and endorses my value for the British economy from his position as a research chair at the Alan Turing Institute - the national AI institute of the UK

  10. (MC) Future plans: PhD offer from UoE with full scholarship + UoE Rankings in NLP (currently #1 in the world) + Future plans at Aveni + Endorsement letter from the CEO of the AI-based startup I hope to work for, stating my value for their company

Recommendation Letter Writers:

  1. My current advisor (Reader, or Associate Professor, at UoE + co-founder at my desired future startup). One of the most influential academics in NLP in the world

  2. Professor and Ex-Dean at my previous university. Founder, CEO of the largest tech incubator in India

  3. Senior Technical Staff Member and Manager (Senior Research Scientist) at IBM Research

Would be grateful for any feedback. Thanks a ton in advance!

It may help to get more people to rate your application by breaking down your evidence if this manner:
Recommendation Letters

Mandatory Criteria

Optional Criteria 2

Optional Criteria 4

That way it’s easier to check against the TN guide.

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