UK Government Commits Over £100 Million to Boost AI Research and Development

The UK government remains firm in its decision not to rush the introduction of new legislation for AI.

UK Government Commits Over £100 Million to Boost AI Research and Development
Photo by Chris Lawton / Unsplash

The UK government has unveiled a comprehensive plan to bolster its leadership in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) while emphasizing responsible AI development. The strategy, outlined by the Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology (DSIT), focuses on leveraging existing laws, regulators, and context-specific guidance rather than introducing new legislation.

As part of this initiative, the government has allocated over £100 million ($125 million) in additional funding. This includes £10 million ($12.5 million) to upskill regulators, enabling them to handle the expanded workload associated with applying existing sectoral rules to AI developments and enforcing laws against AI applications that breach regulations.

"The fund will help regulators develop cutting-edge research and practical tools to monitor and address risks and opportunities in their sectors, from telecoms and healthcare to finance and education. For example, this might include new technical tools for examining AI systems," explained DSIT.

In addition to regulatory support, £90 million (~$113 million) will establish nine research hubs to stimulate homegrown AI innovation. The funding aims to encourage AI development in areas like healthcare, mathematics, and chemistry across the UK.

The £90 million allocated for research hubs will span five years and focus on fostering innovation in critical sectors. DSIT stated that these hubs would accelerate AI deployment and drive productivity. An additional £2 million from the Arts & Humanities Research Council will support research projects defining responsible AI practices across sectors such as education, policing, and the creative industries.

DSIT also announced a £9 million investment through the International Science Partnerships Fund to bring together researchers and innovators in the UK and the US, focusing on developing safe, responsible, and trustworthy AI. The government aims to establish bilateral research partnerships with the US to enhance international governance of AI.

While no new legislation akin to the EU's risk-based framework is on the horizon, the UK government's commitment to providing targeted funding for AI research and development reflects its determination to foster innovation while ensuring responsible AI practices.