Government to invest £250m into AI

Rishi Sunak believes AI is having as big an effect as the Industrial Revolution

The Government is to pump £250m into AI and other technologies in a bid to secure the UK as a scientific and technological superpower by 2030.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak believes AI is having as big an effect as the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century and wants the UK to not be left behind in the field.

He says the technology will improve productivity, jobs and quality of life.  

Latest advancements in AI include ChatGPT – a chatbot with the ability to write prose – and the Evolved Structures process used by NASA, which designs components for satellites far quicker than humans can manage.  

The global AI market reached almost $328bn in 2021 with the most valuable AI start-up being ByteDance, the developer of social platform TikTok, according to Statista.

Areas the UK’s funding will focus on include quantum computing and engineering biology – which includes genetic engineering and editing used to develop drugs.

The boost comes after last month’s establishment of the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology.

The new department has created the Science and Technology Framework which lists 10 actions to improve the UK’s science and technology standing, including ensuring researchers have access to the best physical and digital infrastructure for R&D that attracts talent, investment and discoveries.

Recent research found 70 per cent of firms plan to move R&D abroad this year.

The Government also announced an extension to the support provided to UK Horizon Europe applicants for another three months, but Rishi Sunak has stalled on any plans to rejoin the EU research programme. The Financial Times cited sources close to the prime minister that he is sceptical of its value to the UK.

Last year, the UK said it was planning to spend £6bn over three years its own global science fund if it cannot rejoin the EU’s own programme.

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Dom Walbanke

Dom Walbanke

Dom is a feature writer for Growth Business and Small Business, focused on matters concerning start-ups and scale-ups. He has also been published in the Independent, FourFourTwo magazine and various lifestyle...

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