Responsible AI UK Launches Opportunity to Develop International Partnerships

Funding to develop international partnerships with world-leading organisations and research centres in the domain of Responsible Artificial Intelligence.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is providing funding for a new opportunity delivered through the Responsible AI UK (RAI UK) programme: a £31 million strategic investment by the UK government in responsible and trustworthy AI that supports research on the technical, social, legal and ethical challenges surrounding responsible artificial intelligence (RAI).

Through the opportunity, RAI UK is looking to enable world-leading partnerships by providing an opportunity for UK research groups to work in partnership with leading organisations and research centres for research on responsible and trustworthy AI to ensure society deploys and uses AI in a responsible way.

Funding is available for international travel and subsistence both for UK researchers to travel aboard and to facilitate colleagues from abroad to visit the UK. Partnerships should primarily focus on generating impact for economies, societies, cultures, public sector or governments, social services, wellbeing, the environment or quality of life.

The application should lie within UKRI remit; multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary collaborations with international partners are welcomed. Researchers from any discipline are encouraged to lead a creative and innovative interdisciplinary bid addressing the challenge.

Researchers are free to select from a range of types of activity with international partners, but projects should:

  • Develop methodologies for responsible AI.
  • Support the development of legal and responsible innovation toolkits that can be used by SMEs and large companies to help them meet current legal, ethical and social expectations for AI and anticipate future changes.
  • Establish policy engagement activities that enhance conversations involving policymakers, researchers, practitioners, end-users, and the public.

The projects must adopt Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity (EDI), Trusted Research, and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) as fundamental principles underlying the research. The opportunity is therefore particularly seeking to support diverse, interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary teams that co-create research with industry, policy-makers and the public. Successful applicants will be expected to collaborate with the wider RAI UK programme.

The funders will consider proposals to collaborate with one or more international research organisations (including universities, public sector research organisations and publicly funded research institutes) in one or more countries. Proposals may either develop new international collaborators or build on existing relationships. Industry and other non-academic engagement is strongly encouraged and, where appropriate, applicants are encouraged to engage with their strategic partners and co-develop ideas early in the process.

Standard UKRI organisation eligibility rules apply. Research grants are open to: UK higher education institution; public sector research establishments; research council institutes; UKRI-approved independent research organisations and NHS bodies with research capacity; and UK businesses, third sector or government bodies. Further details about individual eligibility criteria are available at the UKRI website.

The total available through the opportunity is £1 million at 80% full economic cost (fEC). Individual awards can range from £20,000 to £100,000 at 80% fEC.

Applicants must complete the mandatory registration procedure between 21 August 2023 and a minimum of 10 working days before the target submission deadline. Submissions open on 1 September 2023 with the following due dates:

  • Round 1 – 14 September 2023 (16:00)
  • Round 2 – 12 October 2023 (16:00)
  • Round 3 – 16 November 2023 (16:00)

Successful projects must begin by 1 February 2024 and can last for up to 18 months.

(This report was the subject of a ResearchConnect Newsflash.)