23 Jul 2024


£100m programme aims to boost take-up of AI and ML in UK

Innovate UK has launched a programme to drive the take-up of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies in the UK. The BridgeAI programme will make £100m of funding available to companies working on AI and ML projects.

Prof Will Drury, executive director of digital and technology at Innovate UK, says that the programme marks a significant investment in UK business. “We aim to unlock the untapped potential of AI and drive greater productivity and efficiency across key sectors,” he explains. “By nurturing AI innovation at the grass-roots level, we’re confident that this programme will enable thousands of businesses to add even greater value to the UK economy and compete more effectively on the global stage.”

The programme will focus on businesses in sectors with high growth potential such as agriculture, construction and transportation, to help them enhance productivity and efficiency through AI.

As part of the programme, Innovate UK will invest up to £5m in AI projects lasting 4-6 months. Eligible projects will be chosen via a competition aimed at UK SMEs. Awards will be granted to applications that demonstrate how they can address business challenges and opportunities to drive an increase in productivity using AI, in collaboration with an AI developer or academic organisation. Successful applicants will receive up to £50,000. Applications close on 25 May, 2023.

• Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan recently announced £100m in start-up funding for a task force responsible for accelerating the UK’s AI capabilities – on top of £900m investment in computing technology announced in the Budget. The government-industry funded task force aimed at developing safe, reliable use of AI and ensuring that the UK is globally competitive in this strategic technology.

“Harnessing the potential of AI provides enormous opportunities to grow our economy, create better-paid jobs, and build a better future,” Sunak said at the launch. “By investing in emerging technologies through our new expert task force, we can continue to lead the way in developing safe and trustworthy AI as part of shaping a more innovative UK economy.”

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