Today [14 June 2023], UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has committed £54m to supporting the generation of responsible artificial intelligence (AI), as well as other associated research projects.
AI has been identified in the UK Science and Technology Framework as critical technology.
These new investments, through the UKRI Technology Missions Fund and Turing AI World Leading Researcher Fellowships scheme, are intended to improve the UK’s global strengths in AI.
The Responsible AI UK consortium, which is receiving £31m from the funding package, is led by the University of Southampton and Prof. Gopal Ramchurn, and was established to pioneer an inclusive approach to responsible AI development, working across academia, businesses, public and third sectors and the general public.
The body will fund multidisciplinary research and work closely with policymakers to provide evidence for future policy and regulation.
Some of its key activities will include large-scale research programmes, collaborations between academics and businesses, skills programmes for the public and industry and the publication of whitepapers outlining approaches for the UK and global AI landscape.
What’s more, 42 projects have been awarded a share of £2m as part of the funding boost. These projects will carry out feasibility studies within commercial settings and look at developing a range of tools to facilitate assessment of AI technologies in areas such as governance, fairness, transparency, safety and accountability, among others.
Successful projects will go on to receive a share of an additional £19m to develop these solutions further.
Some £13m of the funding will be used to support 13 projects using AI to help the UK meet its net zero targets, including those focused on more sustainable land management, accelerating energy efficient carbon dioxide capture and improving resilience for natural hazards and extreme events.
Kedar Pandya, executive director, cross-council programmes at EPSRC, 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.
“That is why 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 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.”
The remaining £8m has been awarded two new Turing AI World Leading Researcher Fellowships, building on the first five fellows announced in 2021. These fellowships are intended to support the UK’s AI ambition by retaining and attracting some of the best international research talent.