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The University of Southampton

UK plans to become AI powerhouse with £31million investment in University of Southampton-led project

Published: 14 June 2023
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The UK could become a world powerhouse for the development of responsible artificial intelligence after £31million was awarded to launch a new consortium led by the University of Southampton.

The multimillion-pound project, known as Responsible AI UK, will bring together experts to create an international research and innovation institute to create trustworthy and secure AI that responds to the needs of society.

The £31million funding was awarded by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and will work across universities, businesses, public and third sectors to pioneer responsible AI and fund new research to better understand and build trustworthy systems.

Professor of Artificial Intelligence Gopal Ramchurn from the University of Southampton is the principal investigator for Responsible AI UK. He said: “We don’t need to fear artificial intelligence, it won’t threaten humanity but has huge potential to influence how society operates in the future.

“AI should not only be technically safe and accountable, but its impact on its users, their wellbeing and rights, and the wider society needs to be understood for people to trust it. Our role in RAI UK will be to bring together experts from diverse disciplines and cultures from across the world to address the most pressing AI challenges in key sectors and ensure we all benefit from the productivity gains it promises to deliver."


Professor of Artificial Intelligence, Gopal Ramchurn
Professor of Artificial Intelligence, Gopal Ramchurn

The RAI UK consortium will bring together an international ecosystem to address AI challenges. It will fund large and small research and innovation projects and fellowships, grants, develop collaborations between researchers and businesses, develop skills programmes for the public and industry, and deliver guidance to governments.

RAI UK will lead national conversations on responsible artificial intelligence across the UK, working closely with policymakers to provide evidence for future policy and regulation, as well as guidance for businesses in deploying AI solutions responsibly.

Celebrated computer scientist Dame Wendy Hall, a Regius Professor at the University of Southampton and executive director of its Web Science Institute, said: “AI will change the way we live and work for the better – but an interdisciplinary approach to regulation and safe AI is vital.

“The UK can become the dominant force for responsible and trustworthy AI development and regulation with this £31million investment. The work undertaken by the Responsible AI UK team at the University of Southampton together with our partners across the UK and internationally will put the UK at the forefront of AI’s future for the good of humanity.”

RAI UK will be the catalyst for an international Responsible and Trustworthy AI ecosystem that will address issues that have precluded the adoption of AI to the benefit of society. It will enshrine interdisciplinary research to open dialog among experts, businesses and the public as active participants in the research, including users and those impacted by AI.

Technology Secretary Chloe Smith, said: "Despite our size as a small island nation, the UK is a technology powerhouse. Last year, the UK became just the third country in the world to have a tech sector valued at $1 trillion. It is the biggest in Europe by some distance and behind only the US and China globally.

"The technology landscape, though, is constantly evolving, and we need a tech ecosystem which can respond to those shifting sands, harness its opportunities, and address emerging challenges. The measures unveiled today will do exactly that. We’re investing in our AI talent pipeline with a £54 million package to develop trustworthy and secure artificial intelligence, and putting our best foot forward as a global leader in tech both now, and in the years to come."

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