The University of Southampton

How are Responsible AI UK connecting the AI ecosystem both nationally and internationally?

Published: 6 December 2023

The AI Safety Summit’s Bletchley Declaration stated that we must work together to ensure human-centric, trustworthy and responsible AI that is safe. Cooperation is at the heart of safe AI development, and Responsible AI UK (RAI UK) is driving cooperative action through supporting research on the technical, social, legal and ethical challenges surrounding responsible artificial intelligence both in the UK and internationally.  

RAI UK is committed to working closely with academia, industry partners, civil society and policy makers to:  

  • Spotlight the exciting work happening across the AI ecosystem both nationally and internationally through connections. 
  • Galvanise and operationalise responsible AI research and innovation through collaborations. 
  • Identify and tackle the skills gaps in the AI ecosystem. 

Our work so far 

RAI UK champions a reflective, and inclusive approach to AI development. We have brought together stakeholders from industry, academia, and policy, from the UK and internationally, to create a research and innovation ecosystem for responsible and trustworthy AI that will be responsive to the needs of society. 

It has been fewer than six months since we launched, and we have already:  

  • Consulted across the devolved nations 

We have held consultations across the devolved nations, hosting town halls in Belfast, Glasgow and Cardiff, holding 16 roundtables. These sessions are crucial in helping shape the future of Responsible AI in the UK.  

  • Funded £1.8m of impact acceleration projects

We have already funded 7 Impact acceleration projects that will address topics such as Generative AI in teaching and learning, AI regulation, and Emotional AI standards. These projects bring together world-leading expertise from across the UK and beyond to address new and emerging challenges in AI. 

  • Funded £300k of international partnership projects

We have already funded the first round of the RAI UK International Partnership Scheme, enabling world-leading partnerships. This scheme provides an opportunity for UK research groups to work in partnership with the best international collaborators for research on responsible and trustworthy AI mitigating harms that arise beyond national boundaries. International partnerships are already forming with European and US centres, and we have an ambition to make these partnerships truly global through this programme. 

  • Provided expertise as a founding partner to the AI Fringe 

Our team came out in force at the AI Fringe in November, providing expertise on topics including responsible AI research, National Security, opportunities and risks of AI for underrepresented and marginalised communities, and the future of work. 

The opportunities and challenges of AI are broad. This requires continued collaboration between industry, academics and other stakeholders globally. 

Professor Gopal Ramchurn: “I’m very pleased with the progress we have made in the last 6 months. We have ensured the diverse views on responsible AI from across the UK have been taken into account in shaping the programme. We had a great response during the AI Fringe and now we need to keep the momentum going to ensure we quickly address the harms engendered by current and future AI systems.” 

Professor Sana Khareghani: “We are working hard to establish Responsible AI UK as a key enabler of the international Responsible AI Ecosystem and it’s been amazing to see the progress that the team has made. We are looking forward to delivering reliable and science-based advice to policy makers and industry at this time of great uncertainty around the benefits and risks of AI.” 

Led by the University of Southampton, RAI UK brings together a multidisciplinary team from Queen's University Belfast, Swansea University, the University of Glasgow, University College London, the University of Nottingham, King's College London and the University of Cambridge. Working together with industry partners, governments and practitioners, we connect UK research into responsible AI with leading research centres and institutions around the world.  

Current funding call: Keystone Projects 

Now open for applications, Keystone Projects, our headline funding programme will help enable responsible AI to power benefits for everyday life. Working in collaboration, researchers, industry professionals, policymakers and stakeholders will drive an ecosystem that will be responsive to the needs of society. 

RAI UK will fund between £2m and £3.5m at 80% full economic cost. Funding is available for up to 4 grants. Successful projects must begin by 1 May 2024 and last up to 48 months. The full call opens on November 30, and the mandatory intention to submit is 15 December 2023.  

Partner Network 

The RAI UK Partner Network will offer real-world perspectives on both responsible and irresponsible applications of / approaches to AI and shape understanding of the successes and failures that lead to such outcomes. 

From secondments to share knowledge, experience and skills to funding challenge-led research to address emerging or urgent industry or government concerns, focusing on multi-disciplinary research approaches, the Partner Network will promote, shape and share Responsible (Research and) Innovation practices developed by RAI UK and the wider AI ecosystem.  

About RAI UK  

Responsible AI UK will connect UK research into Responsible AI to leading research centres and institutions around the world, delivering world-leading best practices for how to design, evaluate, regulate, and operate AI-systems in ways that benefit people, society and the nation.

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