Government announce investments in AI, nuclear fusion and genetics

The £360m bid to make Britain a science superpower: Government to announce heavy investments in artificial intelligence, nuclear fusion and genetics

  • The Government will also set up an exascale supercomputer facility
  • Read more: Scientists urge pregnant women to avoid using plastic bottles

The UK is investing £360 million in artificial intelligence, nuclear fusion and genetics to become a science ‘superpower’ by the end of the decade, Rishi Sunak will announce today.

As part of the commitment, the Government will also pledge to ensure researchers have access to the ‘best physical and digital infrastructure’ for research and development, to attract the best talent to this country.

The PM will say the UK ‘can only stay ahead with focus, dynamism and leadership’, and his ten-point plan promises to use post-Brexit freedoms to develop a ‘pro-innovation culture’ in the public sector.

As part of the programme, the Government will set up an exascale supercomputer facility. 

An exascale computer can carry out one quintillion calculations a second. A quintillion is one with 18 zeroes.

Rishi Sunak will announce a new £360 million investment in artificial intelligence, nuclear fusion and genetics

Dr Roger Highfield, science director of the Science Museum, said: ‘It is really exciting news that the UK plans to set up an exascale supercomputer facility, given that we led the way in computing thanks to the likes of Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace and Alan Turing.

‘UK scientists and engineers will welcome this announcement of further funding for high-performance computing, which has fallen behind in the past dozen years.’

Today’s funding announcement comprises £243 million of new funds and a previously announced £117 million for PhD research into artificial intelligence.

Mr Sunak said: ‘Trailblazing science and innovation have been in our DNA for decades. But in an increasingly competitive world, we can only stay ahead with focus, dynamism and leadership. The more we innovate, the more we can grow our economy, create the high-paid jobs of the future, protect our security, and improve lives.’

Science Secretary Michelle Donelan said innovation and technology ‘hold the keys’ to raising productivity, increasing wages and cutting energy prices.

She added: ‘We are putting the full might of the Government and our private sector partners behind our push to become a scientific and technological superpower.’

Sir Paul Nurse, of the Francis Crick Institute, said: ‘Only by being a leading science nation can the UK drive a sustainable economy, increase productivity and generate societal benefits such as improved healthcare and protecting the environment.’

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