UKRI Investing £100m in Transformative Innovations in AI Research, including 9 New Hubs

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has announced funding of £100 million to deliver transformative artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

The majority of the funding (£80 million) is being delivered by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for nine research hubs that will deliver next-generation innovations and technologies.

The hubs will be led by eight universities and involve partners throughout the UK, as follows:

  • Information theory for distributed AI (INFORMED-AI), University of Bristol – Developing theoretical foundations and algorithmic approaches for intelligent distributed systems. These systems aim to be effective, resilient and trustworthy in their operations.
  • AI for collective intelligence (AI4CI), University of Bristol – Developing new machine learning and smart agent technologies fuelled by real-time data streams in order to achieve collective intelligence for individuals and national agencies across: healthcare, pandemics, cities, finance, and environment.
  • CHAI-EPSRC AI hub for causality in healthcare AI with real data, University of Edinburgh – Improving healthcare using AI by predicting outcomes and personalising treatments. This hub will develop novel methods to unravel complex causal relationships within healthcare data.
  • AI for productive research and Innovation in eLectronics (APRIL) hub, University of Edinburgh – Developing AI tools to transform the time it takes to develop a range of new products from new, fundamental materials for electronic devices to complicated microchip designs and system architectures.
  • ProbAI: a hub for the mathematical and computational foundations of probabilistic AI, Lancaster University – Exploring ways to embed probability models, probabilistic reasoning and measures of uncertainty within AI methods.
  • AI for Chemistry: aIchemy, University of Liverpool and Imperial College London – The joint Liverpool-Imperial hub will study foundational AI methods, experimental and computational chemistry, and autonomous, closed-loop robotics for chemical discovery.
  • AI hub in generative models, University College London – Developing tools that industry, science and government can use to build responsible generative models to benefit the economy and society.
  • Mathematical foundations of intelligence: an ‘Erlangen Programme’ for AI, University of Oxford – Focusing on using mathematical principles, this hub will use geometry, topology and probability to enhance AI methods.
  • National edge AI hub for real data: edge intelligence for cyber-disturbances and data quality, Newcastle University – Focusing on the effect of cyber disturbances on the effectiveness and resilience of edge AI, with a particular focus on cyber threats and how to make it more secure and robust.

In addition to the hubs, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is providing £2 million through the Bridging Responsible AI Divides (BRAID) programme to support 10 six-month scoping studies that will define what responsible AI looks like across sectors such as education, policing and the creative industries.

A further £7.6 million will fund a second phase of the BRAID programme, extending activities to 2027 and 2028. This phase will include a new cohort of large-scale demonstrator projects, further rounds of BRAID fellowships, and new professional AI skills provisions, co-developed with industry and other partners.

Furthermore, the EPSRC has announced £9 million via the International Science Partnerships Fund (ISPF) to establish bilateral research partnerships between UK and US researchers and innovators to develop safer, responsible, and trustworthy AI as well as AI for scientific uses.

Chief Executive of UKRI Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser said:

‘UKRI is supporting researchers and innovators to develop the next generation of AI technologies that will transform our economy and society. The investments announced today will help to deliver the capability the UK needs to realise the opportunities of this transformative technology.

‘Through our £1bn portfolio of investments in AI research and innovation, we are supporting the development of new technologies, boosting skills, and accelerating the adoption of trusted and responsible AI.’

Further details are available at the UKRI website.

(This Bulletin article was the subject of a ResearchConnect news alert.)