UKRI Plots Increased AI and Quantum Tech Investment

There’s a lot going on in UK Research and Innovation’s corporate plan, but the government’s non-departmental public body is clear on how it will spend its annual £7.9 billion budget.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has revealed its latest budget with an increased investment in artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum technologies.

There’s a lot going on in UKRI’s corporate plan, but the UK government’s non-departmental public body is clear on how it will spend its annual £7.9 billion budget.

UKRI Chief Executive Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser comments: “Our corporate plan sets out the key actions UKRI will take over the course of our three-year budget settlement to foster an outstanding research and innovation system for the UK.”

The budget builds on UKRI’s five-year strategy, providing more detail on how it will deliver its ambition for research and innovation set out through six objectives. It will be followed by publication of delivery plans for UKRI’s nine councils.

There are specifics to savour and UKRI explains its commitments in the plan.

First up, there is a £2 billion talent programme. This is an issue that comes up a lot in the news and opinion pieces. For instance, in June the UK government unveiled a new Digital Skills Council as it attempts to fix the alarming lack of suitable recruits across the country.

  • Speaking of budgets – read about ‘UK Government Unveils £39.8bn R&D Budget for AI and Cleantech Boost’ here

Next, UKRI says research and innovation infrastructure investment will increase to £1.1 billion a year by 2024 to 2025.

Innovate UK, which is part of UKRI, gets a budget increase to more than £1 billion by 2024 to 2025. Innovate UK often launches competitions to deal with pressing issues and does a lot of good work. Earlier this year, it opened a £5 million Small Business Research Initiative competition to find financial services solutions that address the issue of climate change.

As befits its name, UKRI is piloting Innovation Accelerators in Greater Manchester, West Midlands and Glasgow City Region. There’s certainly no shortage of talent in those areas as eWeek UK has covered plenty of tech and fintech firms to watch.

There’s an extra £185 million across UKRI to target global and national challenges, including the move to net zero through a new ‘Building a Green Future’ programme.

The theme of net zero pops up a lot. Earlier this month, the House of Lords’ Science and Technology Committee expressed worries over what it feels is an “unfocused” strategy to build the UK into a tech and science superpower. However, it did have good things to say about the UK’s ability to “tackle major challenges like net zero”.

Along with all that, UKRI revealed a pilot £65 million investment in “new and emerging areas that reach beyond disciplinary boundaries”.

You can read more about UKRI’s corporate plan here.

Antony Peyton
Antony Peyton
Antony Peyton is the Editor of eWeek UK. He has 18 years' journalism and writing experience. His career has taken him to China, Japan and the UK - covering tech, fintech and business. Follow on Twitter @TonyFintech.

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