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UKRI announces £50 million to develop trustworthy and secure AI

Written by Wed 14 Jun 2023

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has announced £50 million in funding to develop trustworthy and secure artificial intelligence (AI).

As part of the package, £31 million has been awarded to a group called Responsible AI UK, led by the University of Southampton. Its aim is to create a UK and international research and innovation ecosystem for responsible and trustworthy AI that will be responsive to the needs of society.

Led by Professor Gopal Ramchurn, the consortium will help people understand what responsible and trustworthy AI is, how to develop it and build it into existing systems, and the impacts it will have on society.

“Trustworthy AI tends to be looked at from a very technical perspective. It is tested and validated in well-defined settings. However, that does not mean it will be trusted by the public, government, and industry,” said Professor Ramchurn.

He also noted that AI is often looked on by the technology community as something that has been thoroughly tested.

“It can be AI that is trustworthy by the technical functionality of the application and the particular closed environments it has been tested in, but it is not trusted because maybe it uses your personal data in ways that you would not want it to do,” added Professor Ramchurn.

Funding to speed up AI adoption

In addition, £2 million will be awarded by UKRI to 42 projects that will carry out feasibility studies in businesses as part of the BridgeAI programme. These are hoped to speed up the adoption of trusted and responsible AI and Machine Learning technologies.

The projects will look at developing a range of tools to facilitate assessment of AI technologies, and successful ones will go on to receive a share of an additional £19 million to develop these solutions further.

Kedar Pandya, Executive Director for Cross-Council Programmes at the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, said: “The UK’s expertise in the field of AI is a major asset to the country and will help develop the science and technology that will shape the fabric of many areas of our lives.”

Support for Net Zero Projects

£13 million of UKRI’s funding will be also used to support 13 projects with a vision to help the UK meet its net zero targets. Universities across the UK, from Edinburgh to Aberystwyth, and Leicester to Southampton, will lead these projects.

“UKRI is continuing to invest in the people and organisations that will have wide-ranging benefit. For this to be successful we must invest in research and systems in which we can have trust and confidence, and ensure these considerations are integrated in all aspects of the work as it progresses. The projects and grants announced today will help us achieve this goal,” added Pandya.

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Written by Wed 14 Jun 2023

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