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by Sofia Villegas
31 October 2023
Cash for Scottish universities to foster global AI expertise

The AI summit will discuss safety procedures for the technology going forward | Alamy

Cash for Scottish universities to foster global AI expertise

Four Scottish universities will receive funding from the £118m package for AI skills announced by the UK Government.

Backed by public body UK Research & Innovation, the funding will allow each university to host or partner in one of the 12 new AI Centres for Doctoral Training.

The University of Edinburgh, the University of Strathclyde, the University of Aberdeen and Heriot-Watt University are the selected institutions.

The announcement comes on the eve of the global AI summit that will begin tomorrow at Bletchley Park.

Scotland Office minister John Lamont said: "Scotland's universities have long been associated with ground-breaking research and innovation so it's fantastic to see the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University named as two of the institutions that will benefit from the UK Government's £117m investment in artificial intelligence.

"The universities are doing amazing work in fields such as robotics, biomedical innovation and in bridging the gap between computer and human communication. These exciting advances will bring benefits to the whole of the UK and, indeed, the world."

The government will also implement a new visa scheme to make it easier to bring young foreign AI talent to the UK.

It is hoped these new measures will make the UK home to top global experts as well as the next generation of researchers, future-proofing the country’s AI skills base.

The programme adds to other schemes including 15 science and tech scholarships at universities, as well as the £8.1m fund for postgraduate course scholarships in AI and data science.

It also builds on the £1m grants scheme to help AI talent relocate to the UK, and the new STEM Olympiad scholarship scheme ‘Backing Invisible Geniuses’ – which champions outstanding high-school performers in International Science Olympiads.

Besides the skills budget boost, the government announced support for AI in other sectors.

More than 60 NHS trusts will benefit from a £21m rollout of AI tech to improve how chest X-ray and CT scans can diagnose conditions like lung cancer. It also revealed plans for the technology to improve teacher productivity and JobCentre work coaches – hoping to enhance educational attainment and help those finding work.

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