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Government Launches £700m Fund For Tech Innovation, AI And Robotics Development

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The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will provide financial support for UK businesses working on cutting-edge technology

Artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and innovation are pushing up the government’s technology agenda as it has made £700 million in funding available for UK businesses specialising in such technologies. 

The funding comes courtesy of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, announced last year by Prime Minister Theresa May and to be managed by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and Innovate UK, the government’s innovation agency.

Funding will be allocated to finance development in six key industrial areas, such as allocating £93 million to the development of AI and robotic systems that can be deployed in extreme environments and ear-marking £246 million for the development and manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles over the next four years.

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Accelerating UK tech innovation 

“The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund will target areas that are crucial to the economic and societal future of the UK,” said Professor Philip Nelson, chair of the research councils and EPSRC chief executive.

“It will help research and innovation to thrive and open up new possibilities for the country.

“We can lead the world in developing science that underpins new technologies and their applications. The Research Councils and Innovate UK will be working closely to bring about advances in all the first six areas.”

The current Tory government may not be to everyone’s tastes, but it has displayed a solid interest in technology development; hardly  surprising given the UK’s growing technology industry and the use of London as the European headquarters for major technology firms. 

The Queen’s Speech outlined the government’s commitment to tech innovation areas such as driverless cars, as well as the more left-field ambition to expand the UK’s role in space travel. 

And with the growing development and deployment of AI in UK companies, it is no wonder the government wnats to capitalise on Britain’s current crop of tech innovation. 

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