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UK Government invests £118m to develop AI skills and research

Written by Thu 2 Nov 2023

The UK Government has announced a £118 million ($143 million) investment to develop the country’s skills in artificial intelligence (AI).

The investment is intended to ensure the UK has top global expertise. It also aims to foster the next generations of researchers, enabling them to seize the transformational benefits of AI.

“The plans we are announcing today will future-proof our nation’s skills base, meaning British people can reap the benefits of AI as it continues to develop … we are moving further and faster to put the power of this technology to work for good across Government and society,” said Michelle Donelan, Secretary of State for Science, Innovation, and Technology.

The Government also named 12 Centres for Doctoral Training in AI. These Centres will receive £117 million ($142 million) in Government backing through UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The 12 centres included are the University of Surrey; the University of Oxford; the University of Lincoln; the University of Edinburgh; the University of Bristol; the Northumbria University; the Heriot-Watt University; the University of Southampton; the University of York; and the University of Manchester.

The Centres will train a new generation of researchers to lead in critical AI work. They will provide comprehensive training in responsible, trustworthy, and safe AI. Specialisations will cover key UK priority areas like healthcare, treatment discovery, and NHS productivity enhancement.

The AI skills investment package also featured a £1 million ($1.2 million) AI Futures Grants scheme designed to aid future AI leaders in covering their relocation costs to the UK. The scheme intends to strengthen the UK as a global destination for top AI talent. 

The Government also announced it will sponsor 15 GREAT scholarships for international students to pursue science and technology courses. This is in partnership with the British Council and UK universities.

Another scholarship included in the package is the ‘Backing Invisible Geniuses’ (BIG) pilot.. Led by the Global Talen Lab, the pilot supports high-school achievers in International Science Olympiads. The pilot intends to guide these students toward excellence in mathematics, science, and AI.

“The UK is in a strong position to harness the power of AI to transform many aspects of our lives for the better. Crucial to this endeavour is nurturing the talented people and teams we need to apply AI to a broad spectrum of challenges, from healthy ageing to sustainable agriculture, ensuring its responsible and trustworthy adoption,” said Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, Chief Executive of the UKRI.

As part of the AI skills package, the Government will establish a new visa scheme in the UK for exceptionally skilled AI researchers. These researchers can come to the UK for internships and work placements early in their careers to develop their ideas and businesses.

The AI skills package announcement followed a £100 million ($121 million) Government investment to advance healthcare with artificial intelligence (AI). 

The AI healthcare investment will be channelled through the AI Life Sciences Accelerator Mission, utilising the UK’s strength in secure health data and AI.


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Written by Thu 2 Nov 2023

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