The Chancellor has announced a £34m AI fund to create 2,000 scholarships for disadvantaged students – as well as a new £500m job support package.
Giving his speech this morning to the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, Rishi Sunak said the move, along with an increase in the number of world-leading researchers in the UK under the Turing AI fellowship, would help cement the country’s status as a “scientific superpower”.
He also committed more than £500m in fresh funding to help people back into work.
“As the latest general-purpose technology, AI has the potential to completely transform whole economies and societies,” Mr Sunak said.
“We want the UK to be a scientific superpower but also a high-skilled, high-tech economy.
“This new fund will allow more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to learn new skills and train up for the jobs of tomorrow in the new and exciting industries of the future such as AI.”
The funding commits £23m to double the number of available scholarships for AI and Data Science Masters conversion courses for disadvantaged students, creating an additional 2,000 scholarships in England, and £11m to double the number of Turing world-leading researcher fellows in the UK, funding an extra five fellows and their projects.
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Responding to the news, the Confederation of British Industry backed Rishi Sunak’s plan but said higher investment and growth was needed to improve productivity, as PA reports.
CBI president Tony Danker said: “Business shares the Chancellor’s ambitious vision for a high-growth economy driven by science, technology and innovation.
“The Government can rely on the skills, ingenuity and delivery capability of business to realise this vision.
“The Chancellor’s emphasis on equipping young people for the world of work, from the Kickstart scheme to new AI scholarships, as well as helping people retrain for the jobs of the future, is the right approach.
“The only way to achieve the high-wage, high-skill economy we all want is to unlock productivity through higher investment and growth. All must rise together to avoid a further squeeze on living standards and to realise a better decade than the last.”
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