UK government AI investment

UK pledges £1bn for AI research

Plans for new tech hubs, educational programmes and an AI data and ethics hub have been unveiled as the UK government announces its Artificial Intelligence Sector Deal.

More than 50 leading businesses and organisations have contributed to the development of a £1 billion deal to put the UK at the forefront of the artificial intelligence industry, featuring almost £300m of new private sector investment. The scheme also includes more than £300 million of newly allocated government funding.

It is hoped the deal will help establish the UK as a research hotspot, with measures to ensure the innovators and tech entrepreneurs of tomorrow are based in the UK, with investment in the high-level post-graduate skills needed to capitalise on technology’s huge potential.

The AI sector deal will not only support new adopters of AI, it will help the companies who are already embracing and investing in developing this technology.

Where will the funding go?

The deal includes money for training for 8,000 specialist computer science teachers, 1,000 government-funded AI PhDs by 2025 and a commitment to develop a prestigious global Turing Fellowship programme to attract and retain the best research talent in AI to the UK.

The government has also pledged £21m of funding to create Tech Nation, the merged and enlarged Tech City UK and Tech North network. One of Tech Nation’s new goals will be to establish an internationally-respected programme for mid-stage AI companies to help bring them to scale.

Also announced as part of the plans is a £9m Centre for Data Ethics + Innovation. It will address the challenges posed by the adoption of AI and advise on the measures needed to enable and ensure safe, ethical and innovative uses of data-driven technologies, while helping protect consumers.

The Artificial Intelligence Sector funding marks the first phase of a major innovation-focused investment drive in AI, which aims to help the UK seize the £232bn opportunity the technology offers the UK economy by 2030 (10% of GDP), according to the government.

Culture Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Artificial Intelligence is at the centre of our plans to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business. We have a great track record and are home to some of the world’s biggest names in AI like Deepmind, Swiftkey and Babylon, but there is so much more we can do.”

“By boosting AI skills and data driven technologies we will make sure that we continue to build a Britain that is shaping the future.”

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