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The deal marks the first phase of an investment drive in AI
Richard Bell

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Industrial Strategy: UK to tap ‘limitless opportunities’ of AI with latest Sector Deal

Over 50 businesses and organisations have put their weight behind a £1bn deal with the government to place the UK at the forefront of artificial intelligence (AI) innovation.

Announced today (April 26) by Business Secretary Greg Clark and Digital Secretary Matt Hancock, the Sector Deal will include over £300m of newly allocated government funding for AI research.

It marks the first phase of an investment drive in AI to help the UK seize the £232bn opportunity this industry will offer by 2030.

New investments to be made as part of the AI Sector Deal include the launch of Japanese venture capital firm Global Brain’s first European HQ in the UK – a move that will see £35m ploughed into UK-based deep-tech startups.

Similarly, Vancouver-based venture capital firm Chrysalix will establish a European operation in the UK, where it will invest up to £110m in AI and robotics.

Also included are The University of Cambridge’s new £10m supercomputer and joint projects between Rolls-Royce and the Alan Turing Institute.

The Sector Deal could likewise help to boost skills, as it includes cash for training 8,000 specialist computer science teachers to ensure every secondary school has a fully qualified computer science GCSE teacher. Further, it outlines plans for 1,000 government-funded PhDs in AI by 2025.

Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, 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.”

He continued: “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.”

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark MP commented: “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.”

He added: “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.”

The Sector Deal announced today is part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy. It follows on from multi-million pound deals in other sectors, including construction, life sciences and, most recently, creative.

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