The UK government has bolstered its position in fostering artificial intelligence (AI) development by introducing two innovation competitions specifically targeted at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). With a total fund of £7 million, these competitions aim to encourage SMEs to create AI solutions that address business challenges across various sectors including agriculture, construction, transportation, and creative industries. The first competition, supported with £5 million, is dedicated to feasibility studies focussing on AI use to solve business issues. The second invites a multitude of projects, with 100 potential beneficiaries, to vie for a slice of a £2 million fund. The competitions are funded through UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Technology Missions Fund and Innovate UK’s Bridge AI programme. Minister for AI and Intellectual Property Viscount Camrose announced these initiatives underscoring the government’s support for AI innovation without immediate legislative interference, which emphasizes a pro-innovation agenda. Additionally, these competitions are part of a broader strategy to collaboratively approach AI development and management, especially considering safety and harnessing AI’s potential. The government’s AI Safety Institute is actively testing AI models to understand technology risks but has encountered challenges in accessing systems from some major technology companies, indicating the complex relationship between the public sector and large AI influencers.

Government and Public Sector, Artificial Intelligence and Technology, Agriculture, Construction, Transportation, Logistics, and Creative Industries,United Kingdom

Competition to give AI SMEs access to £7m funding pot