£16m available for UK Robotics and AI businesses

abstract illustration of AI brain

Up to £16 million has been made available to UK business across two competitions for technologies and systems for extreme and challenging environments.

Innovate UK is making the funding available for robotics and artificial intelligence technologies in applications such as deep mining, nuclear energy, space and off-shore energy.

The project is part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, which was created as part of the government’s £4.7 billion increase in R&D, to provide funding and support to UK businesses and researchers.

Demonstrator Programme

There is up to £6 million available for projects that stimulate the development of robotics and artificial intelligence demonstrators.

This is the first phase of the competition. Projects should focus on technical feasibility studies of individual technologies, systems or subsystems in extreme or challenging environments.

Phase 2 will run in 2018. This will focus on experimental developments of fully-integrated systems that will be tested and demonstrated in realistic, extreme environments. To be considered to lead a project in phase 2 you must apply in phase 1.

Collaborative research and development

The second phase involves a fund of £10 million which is available for collaborative research and development that results in “new and novel systems.”

The focus is primarily on off-shore energy, nuclear energy, space and deep mining, however, other extreme and challenging environments may also be considered.

Competition information

  • both competitions are now open for applications
  • in the demonstrator competition, projects should last up to 12 months and range in size up to total project costs of £500,000. The competition closes on 19 July 2017
  • in the collaborative R&D competition, projects should last up to 36 months and range in size up to total project costs of £2 million. The competition closes on 2 August 2017
  • all projects must be led by a business
  • businesses can attract up to 70% of their project costs