Finance · 27 April 2018

Government offers up £300m for investment in AI research projects

The government wants to turn Britain into the home of AI research

The government has set aside £300m for investment in AI research projects, signalling its hopes to make the UK the global leader in the technology.

Government business secretary Greg Clark, and digital secretary Matt Hancock, announced that over 50 businesses and organisations have funded to a wider deal worth £1bn to the AI sector.

As part of the deal, the government hopes £300m of available investment will help establish the UK as a key AI research hotspot, and encourage the tech entrepreneurs of tomorrow to base themselves in Britain.

Commenting on the investment fund, Hancock said: “The UK must be at the forefront of emerging technologies, pushing boundaries and harnessing innovation to change people’s lives for the better.

“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.”

The government claimed the deal arrived after “record levels” of investment into Britain’s tech industries in 2017. The department for business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) claimed the deal marked “the first phase of a major innovation-focused investment drive in AI”, with the government targeting

The latest deal includes new investments in:

  • Japanese venture capital firm Global Brain opening its first European HQ in the UK and investing £35m in UK deep-tech start-ups
  • The University of Cambridge opening a new £10m AI supercomputer and making its infrastructure available to businesses
  • Vancouver-based venture capital firm, Chrysalix, is also going to establish a European HQ in the UK and use it to invest up to £110m in AI and robotics
  • The Alan Turing Institute and Rolls-Royce will run a number of joint research projects

Commenting on fund, business and energy secretary, Greg Clark said: “Artificial intelligence provides limitless opportunities to develop new, efficient and accessible products and services which transform the way we live and work.

“Today’s new deal with industry will ensure we have the right investment, infrastructure and highly-skilled workforce to establish the UK as a driving force in the development and commercial use of artificial intelligence technologies.

“As with all innovation there is also the potential for misuse which puts the whole sector under scrutiny and undermines public confidence. That is why we are establishing a new world-leading body, to ensure the ethical use of data in AI applications for the benefit of all.”

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Carly Hacon is a reporter for Business Advice. She has a BA in journalism from Kingston University, and has previously worked as a features editor for a local newspaper.

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