The UK has announced a £118 million funding boost for AI skills to cement its global AI expertise and lead the next generation of research and development.
The funding will support postgraduate research centres, scholarships, a new visa scheme and a universal encouragement for students to pursue AI and data focused education courses to produce a workforce equipped with digital skills.
As part of this, the Government has named the locations and researchers of 12 new UKRI Centres for Doctoral Training in the development and application of AI, created an AI Futures Grants scheme to facilitate the relocation of AI leaders, the funding of 15 scholarships for international students, all building on recent funding schemes to promote the research and development of AI skills.
Derek Mackenzie, CEO at Investigo, part of The IN Group, commented: “AI skills are becoming increasingly in demand and it is good to see the UK supporting training and development in such a fast-moving field. The key to maximising the potential of AI is the people operating it, working hand-in-hand to streamline processes as staff make AI work for them and their needs. Upskilling workforces through training programmes is an important step for the business eco-system, and organisations must evaluate how they both recruit and train highly skilled technical staff to make the most of the evolving technology landscape.”
The skills funding aims to maximise the ‘transformative benefits’ of AI in technology that can cut the workload for teachers, support new technology for medical screening, and enhance efficiency and productivity across the country.
Josh Boer, Director at Tech Consultancy VeUP, commented: “High potential start-ups are a huge part of the AI charge and it is great to see the Government supporting AI development through funding and training programmes to produce a new generation of AI experts that can support these start-ups. Equipping these businesses with skilled technical staff, proficient in areas such as AI, AWS and IoT, is vital to their continued success, leading innovations that can drive rapid growth strategies.”
The announcement supports the activities of the Bletchley Park AI Safety Summit as the UK positions itself to take a global lead on artificial intelligence.
Secretary of State Michelle Donelan for DSIT said: The UK is at the very forefront of the global race to turn AI’s enormous potential into a giant leap forward for people’s quality of life and productivity at work, all while ensuring this technology works safely, ethically and responsibly.
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. At the same time, we are moving further and faster to put the power of this technology to work for good across government and society.