£118 million training package to ‘future-proof’ UK’s AI skills

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The UK government has announced an effort to future-proof the nation’s artificial intelligence (AI) skills base with a £118 million funding boost.

Aimed at ensuring the country becomes a center for AI innovation, the funding package will include naming 12 additional Centers for Doctoral Training in the development and application of AI. 

The training initiative will focus on developing responsible, trustworthy, and safe AI applications, with a strong emphasis on the use of responsible AI in areas such as healthcare.

A new visa scheme will also be introduced that will enable businesses to bring talented AI practitioners to the UK earlier in their careers via internships and placements with domestic firms and universities. 

This will build on a pre-existing £1 million grant package to support AI researchers looking to relocate to the country.

The government said the funding will add to previous investment for 15 science and technology scholarships at leading universities in the UK and the pilot of the new ‘Backing Invisible Geniuses’ (BIG) STEM Olympiad scholarship scheme. 

The scholarship scheme is being launched with a founding donation from XTX Markets in partnership with the Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology (DSIT).

'Future-proofing' AI skills

“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," said Secretary of State Michelle Donelan. 

"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."


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These plans follow a previously-announced £8.1 million funding package for postgraduate scholarships in AI and data science

The government initiative recognizes a ‘change of pace’ in AI development is required nationally, and aims to ensure it fosters the required talent pool to capitalize on the technology.

The total funding for such scholarships now stands at £26 million since 2020, which involves over 2,600 scholarships targeted at disadvantaged groups. 

Wider initiatives to make Britain ‘AI match-fit’

In addition to financial backing for skills development, the government has also revealed a number of measures it hopes will leverage the potential of AI to boost productivity and quality of life. 

A total of 64 NHS trusts will benefit from a £21 million rollout of AI technology that will improve procedures for diagnosing serious conditions using X-ray and CT scans. 

The NHS will also benefit from the launch of the ‘Airlock’ regulatory sandbox, which will allow AI innovators to safely test their technologies in healthcare applications earlier and should mean patients can benefit from such innovations even sooner.

A partnership between the Met Office and the Alan Turing Institute will use AI to improve weather forecasting, aimed at bolstering the UK’s resilience to extreme weather events.

The drive by the government includes considerations around the ethical rollout of AI technologies, and part of this effort involves the launch of internationally recognized standards for the use of AI in healthcare.

“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,” Donelan said.

Solomon Klappholz
Staff Writer

Solomon Klappholz is a Staff Writer at ITPro. He has experience writing about the technologies that facilitate industrial manufacturing which led to him developing a particular interest in IT regulation, industrial infrastructure applications, and machine learning.