The Government has announced up to 200 AI Masters places will be made available at UK universities.

They will be funded and supported by high-profile UK tech firms.

These include names like DeepMind and Nvidia, startup Amplyfi, old firms like Cisco and BAE Systems, along with Accenture.

There will also be five five-year fellowships at the Alan Turing Institute.

Some 1,000 PhD studentships will be offered at 16 new, AI-focused Centres for Doctoral Training.

It will also be funded by £100m from government, £78m from Rolls Royce, AstraZeneca, BT, Google, Microsoft and Amazon, and £23m from the universities.

The package is part of the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy, which is being supported by up to £110 million of government investment.

Business secretary Greg Clark said of the new scheme:

The AI Masters places will be available for the first time from September this year.

“The UK has long been a nation of innovators.”

“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.

“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.

“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.”

The AI Masters places will be available for the first time from September this year.

Digital secretary Jeremy Wright said: “The UK is not only the birthplace to the father of artificial intelligence, Alan Turing, but we are leading the way on work to ensure AI innovation has ethics at its core.

“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.”

Tech Nation also published a study carried out by Dealroom into VC investment in AI in the UK.

This put investment in AI startups at $1.3bn in 2018, about six times as much as AI firms raised in 2014 and up from $1.2bn in 2017.

Keen to emphasise that the UK punches above its weight in Europe, the study pointed out these UK firms raised almost as much funding as the rest of the region combined.

“These statistics are further confirmation that the UK is Europe’s undisputed number one tech hub,” said digital secretary Jeremy Wright. “We are determined to make the UK the best place to start and grow a digital business and through our modern Industrial Strategy we are using the power of technology to change people’s lives for the better.”

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