María Pérez-Ortiz


Assistant Professor,

AI Centre & Computer Science,

University College London,

90 High Holborn

London, WC1V 6BH

Current research interests: AI for sustainability and governance; Recommendation Systems; Human-AI collaboration; Responsible AI; Simulation Intelligence and Digital Twins.

I am looking for PhD students to join work on these topics through the Foundational AI CDT, if you are interested please send me an email with an introduction, your CV and a short research proposal.

I am currently working on bringing sustainability and responsible innovation to the computer science arena. I am co-director of the first MSc program on AI for Sustainable Development, as well as module leader of two courses at UCL: i) AI for Sustainable Development and ii) Transparent, Accountable and Responsible AI.

I work in what I call planet-centered AI, developing responsible AI technologies for people, the planet and the challenges of the human-led era of the Anthropocene (e.g. need for solutions for climate change mitigation & adaptation and supporting policy makers). So far, my contributions on the development and real-world deployment of these technologies have had impact in areas as diverse as biomedicine, environmental sustainability and educational technology.

I am interested in questions such as: How can we leverage AI to faithfully capture the dynamics of our social and environmental ecosystems, creating digital twins? How could we leverage these computational systems for governance? How to make AI more responsible, ethical, robust, transparent, accountable…? How do we create a new hybrid collaborative and interactive intelligence, that is neither artificial nor human, but rather a mix of both of our strengths?


Nov 28, 2022 Got awarded a UCL Grand Challenges award, category UN SDGs: Pathways to Achievement.
Nov 24, 2022 My piece at WIRED on artificial insect sex pheromones for sustainable agriculture
Sep 15, 2022 My piece at WIRED on an algorithm to get more energy out of wind turbines
Sep 10, 2022 Our latest publication on empowering educational tech has been published at the Journal of Sustainability!
Jun 20, 2022 Our new special issue on the Risks and possibilities of AI in education is open for submissions!

Selected publications

  1. Sustainability
    Power to the Learner: Towards Human-Intuitive and Integrative Recommendations with Open Educational Resources
    Bulathwela, Sahan, Pérez-Ortiz, María, Yilmaz, Emine, and Shawe-Taylor, John
    Sustainability Sep 2022
  2. SciRep
    Network topological determinants of pathogen spread
    Perez-Ortiz, M., Manescu, P., Caccioli, F., Fernández-Reyes, D., Nachev, P., and Shawe-Taylor, J.
    Scientific Reports Sep 2022
  3. NatComms
    Seasonal Arctic sea ice forecasting with probabilistic deep learning
    Andersson, T., Hosking, S.,  Perez-Ortiz, M., Paige, B., Elliott, A., Russell, C., Law, S., Jones, D., Wilkinson, J., and Phillips, T.
    Nature communications Sep 2021
  4. JMLR
    Tighter risk certificates for neural networks
    Perez-Ortiz, M., Rivasplata, O., Shawe-Taylor, J., and Szepesvári, C.
    Journal of Machine Learning Research Sep 2021