Nottingham researchers receive share of £31 million to develop trustworthy and responsible AI

Thursday, 29 June 2023

Nottingham researchers are part of a consortium awarded £31 million to create an international research and innovation ecosystem for responsible AI that will be responsive to the needs of society.

The funding is part of a suite of AI investments worth £52 million unveiled by UK Research and Investment (UKRI) that will bring academic and industry partners together.

Identified by the Government as a critical technology as set out in the UK Science and Technology Framework, AI is a rapidly developing science and technology area. These new investments, through the UKRI Technology Missions Fund and Turing AI Fellowship scheme, continue to build and expand the UK’s global strengths in AI.

As part of this announcement package, £31 million has been awarded to a large consortium, led by the University of Southampton, in partnership with the University of Nottingham. The consortium will pioneer a reflective, inclusive approach to responsible AI development. The consortium will be working with businesses and public sector organisations across UK.

It will fund research that helps us understand what responsible and trustworthy AI is, how to develop it, and how to build it into existing systems, all in pursuit of benefit for societies facing global challenges. It also aims to work with policy makers to provide evidence for how this can then be legislated for and regulated. Activities will include large scale research programmes, collaborations between academics and businesses and white papers to set out UK and global approaches.

Professor Tom Rodden - STAFFROOM
The consortium builds on a long history of interdisciplinary research collaboration between Southampton and Nottingham adopting sociotechnical approaches to emerging technologies. This recognises that as these technologies become prevalent in society effective human-AI collaboration and interaction becomes essential so that the research must focus as much on the human and human society as the AI.
Professor Tom Rodden, School of Computer Science and Co-Chair of the consortium Leadership Team

The work will help maintain and grow the UK’s international position in a highly competitive global market. Success will attract diverse global talent and incentivise further private investment in the UK’s research and innovation system, ensuring greater UK advantage comes from the country’s strengths in science and technology.

Kedar Pandya, Executive Director, Cross-Council Programmes at Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, said: “The UK’s expertise in the field of AI is a major asset to the country and will help develop the science and technology that will shape the fabric of many areas of our lives. That is why UKRI is continuing to invest in the people and organisations that will have wide-ranging benefit.

“For this to be successful we must invest in research and systems in which can have trust and confidence, and ensure these considerations are integrated in all aspects of the work as it progresses. The projects and grants announced today will help us achieve this goal.”

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Jane Icke - Media Relations Manager Science
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Notes to editors:

About the University of Nottingham

Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.

The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.

We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.

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