Industry and government have come together for a major new programme that will see 16 universities hosting specialised AI Masters courses to boost the nascent sector.
“This AI skills and talent investment will help nurture leading UK and international talent to ensure we retain our world-beating reputation in research and development,” said business secretary Greg Clark. “Artificial intelligence has great potential to drive up productivity and enhance every industry throughout our economy, from more effective disease diagnosis to building smart homes.”
AI is becoming an increasingly familiar tool in almost every sector and has been targeted by the UK government as one of its ‘Grand Challenges’. The schemes, aimed at people of different stages in higher education and available to researchers at a variety of levels, will aim to build AI skills for the next generation of scientists, engineers and programmers.
“Artificial intelligence is a disruptive technology in a range of sectors, enabling new products and services and transforming data science,” said Professor Sir Mark Walport, UKRI chief executive. “It allows us to develop new approaches to challenges as diverse as early disease diagnosis and climate change.
“To maintain its leadership in AI, the UK will need a new generation of researchers, business leaders and entrepreneurs equipped with new skills. Working with partners across academia and industry, the centres announced today will provide the foundations for these future leaders.”
The UKRI CDTs will be located at the Universities of Exeter, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Bath, Swansea, Southampton, Glasgow, Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds, UCL, QMUL, Imperial and Kings College London. Each CDT will focus on a different area, such as healthcare, environment, nanoelectronics and ethics.
Professor Gavin Shaddick leader of the Exeter CDT that will specialise in Environmental AI, commented: “Developing a clear understanding of the challenges and identifying potential solutions, both for ourselves and our planet, requires high quality, accessible, timely and reliable data to support informed decision making. Environmental Intelligence is the use of AI to extract meaningful insights from the vast amount of environmental data that is available, from many different sources and from all over the world.”