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The British National AI Strategy

A Summary of the Sector Deal for AI

The United Kingdom has no clear ‘national strategy’ and in a 183-page report, “AI in the UK: ready, willing and able?” it is mentioned that perhaps it should. However the closest and often referenced is the policy paper Sector Deal for AI last updated the 21st of May 2019 and released on March the 6th 2018 by the UK government. Sector Deal for AI was led by Business Secretary Greg Clark, thus its tone and focus is largely on productivity and business-oriented research.

  • People — good jobs and greater earning power for all
  • Infrastructure — a major upgrade to the UK’s infrastructure
  • Business environment — the best place to start and grow a business
  • Places — prosperous communities across the UK
  • Increase the rate of R&D tax credit to 12%
  • Invest £725 million in new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund programmes to capture the value of innovation
  • £93 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund into the robotics and AI in extreme environments programme (such as nuclear and offshore).
  • Create a £20 million GovTech Fund, supported by a GovTech Catalyst.
  • Increase in the rate of the R&D Expenditure Credit from 11% to 12% from January 2018.
  • £83 million EPSRC funding for 159 AI grants.
  • £42 million EPSRC funding for the Alan Turing Institute, with £30 million funding from partners: Lloyds Register, Intel, and ARM.
  • ElementAI opened a new R&D centre in London in 2018.
  • Amazon has 24,000 people working in the UK. Their corporate and R&D workforce in London was approximately 5,000 by the end of 2017.
  • HPE has a program to establish the largest ARM-based supercomputer available to both academia and industry across the UK.
  • Beyond Limits has delivered to NASA and US military. They have chosen UK as international base for expansion around the Cambridge area.
  • Ironfly Technologies startup headquartered in Hong Kong using AI and ML learning to interact with market data, they establish a base in London.
  • Astroscale is a Japanese company developing capability for cleaning up space debris expected to generate 100 high-value engineering jobs in the UK.
  • Chrysalix is a VC firm that established its European HQ in the UK and is expected to invest 40–60% through its European base.
  1. Promotion of AI in UK and globally in trade missions, AI exhibitions and international conferences.
  2. Global Brain one of the largest VC funds (from Japan) is opening its European headquarter in the UK with plans to deploy £35 million over 5 years in UK deeptech startups, with a key focus on AI, Blockchain and Robotics.
  3. Hewlett Packard Enterprise launched offerings to help customers use AI.
  • 2017 – Industrial Strategy white paper published. Announcement of £20 million Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) support for Next Generation Services using artificial intelligence, and £210 million ISCF support for Data to early diagnostics and precision medicine which includes using AI to analyse medical images in digital pathology
  • Quarter 2 2018 – Sector Deal launched. Establishment of AI Council, interim Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, and Office for AI. First meeting of the AI Council. First funded challenges are launched, including Next Generation Services
  • Quarter 1 2019 — Annual Review of the Sector Deal

AI Sector Deal One Year On

The annual review of the sector deal called AI Sector Deal One Year On was released in April 2019.

  • New prestigious Turing AI fellowships to attract and retain the top AI talent.
  • The first wave of industry-funding for new AI Masters places.
  • Up to 1,000 government-funded scholarships to open up opportunities for people from all backgrounds

Written by

AI Policy and Ethics at Student at University of Copenhagen MSc in Social Data Science. All views are my own.

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