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UK government’s £100 million AI funding3 min read

February 14, 2024 2 min read


UK government’s £100 million AI funding3 min read

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The UK government has outlined a “light-touch” approach to AI regulation, emphasizing a preference for flexible principles over complex rules. Detailed in a white paper titled “A pro-innovation approach to AI regulation,” the government’s stance avoids setting up a dedicated AI watchdog or introducing new legislation, instead empowering existing regulators with principles. This strategy aims to foster innovation while relegating the management of AI risks to existing, potentially overstretched regulatory bodies, which will handle issues on a case-by-case basis using their current powers and resources. The paper, published by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT), invited public consultation on this approach, signaling the government’s intention to encourage AI development through adaptable regulation rather than stringent laws. This approach contrasts with the EU’s risk-based framework, highlighting the UK’s aim to maintain regulatory flexibility and adaptability in AI advancements while potentially leaving gaps in addressing the technology’s risks and societal impacts.

After that, The UK government announced a significant investment in artificial intelligence (AI), pledging £100 million to foster new AI research centers and prepare regulators for the technology’s widespread adoption. This move aims to navigate the risks and capitalize on AI’s opportunities.

AI regulation and oversight

The government has allocated £10 million to assist regulators in developing tools to monitor and manage AI’s impact across various sectors, including healthcare, finance, and education. Key regulators like Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) are tasked with publishing their AI management strategies by April 30, focusing on identifying risks, assessing current capabilities, and planning future regulatory approaches.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has already updated its guidance on data protection laws related to AI and begun enforcement actions. The government will establish a steering committee to guide its AI regulatory structure, emphasizing an agile, sector-specific approach to managing AI advancements.

Research and Development (R&D) investment

The bulk of the funding, £90 million, is dedicated to launching nine new AI research hubs across the UK. These hubs will concentrate on healthcare, chemistry, and mathematics, among other areas. Additionally, the government’s International Science Partnerships Fund will provide £9 million to foster UK-US collaborations on developing safe, responsible, and trustworthy AI.

Focus on responsible AI

The government also invests in projects to define and promote responsible AI use. The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) will receive £2 million for research projects across various sectors, and £19 million will support 21 projects developing trusted AI and machine learning solutions. This funding underscores the government’s commitment to a pro-innovation, pro-safety approach to AI, emphasizing the need for responsible development and deployment.


The UK’s investment of £100 million in AI demonstrates its ambition to lead in AI safety and innovation. With a focus on specific regulations, R&D, and global cooperation, the government plans to tackle AI’s challenges and seize its opportunities. Before implementing these ambitious plans, the government recognizes the importance of a comprehensive study to understand the evolving landscape of AI technologies fully.

This preparatory phase plays a crucial role in recognizing that the unknown facets of AI cannot be regulated using the same approaches as in the past. The focus will be on creating adaptable, forward-thinking regulations that can evolve with the technology. This approach signifies a thoughtful and measured response to the complexities of governing a rapidly advancing technological field, aiming to balance innovation and public welfare.