The UK government has announced plans to fund thousands of postgraduate students that want to study a Master's or PhD in AI in an effort to keep up with the world's two competing AI colossuses: China and the US.
As part of the initiative, 1,000 students will be given the opportunity to study across the country at 16 dedicated UK Research and Innovation AI Centers for Doctoral Training (CDTs). There will also be up to 200 new AI Master's places at UK universities that will be funded by AI companies such as DeepMind QuantumBlack, Cisco and BAE Systems, as well as up to five AI research Fellowships created in collaboration with The Alan Turing Institute.
"The UK has long been a nation of innovators," said business secretary Greg Clark. "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.
"AI has great potential to drive up productivity and enhance every industry throughout our economy, from more effective disease diagnosis to building smart homes," he added. "Today's announcement is our modern industrial strategy in action, investing in skills and talent to drive high skilled jobs, growth and productivity across the UK."
Companies throughout the country use AI increasingly in a wide range of sectors, including manufacturing, healthcare and upskilling workers. New figures prepared for Tech Nation by Dealroom.co revealed that the number of venture capital investments in the AI sector grew 17% in 2018, more than the whole of Europe combined.
"The UK is not only the birthplace to the father of AI, Alan Turing, but we are leading the way on work to ensure AI innovation has ethics at its core," said digital secretary Jeremy Wright.
"We want to keep up this momentum and cement our reputation as pioneers in AI. Working with world-class academic institutions and industry we will be able to train the next generation of top-tier AI talent and maintain the UK's reputation as a trailblazer in emerging technologies."