Government announces £370m funding to tackle healthcare and climate change challenges

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Boris Johnson

The next generation of UK scientists have been backed by government to develop the latest Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies that will transform how people live and work and help tackle some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

A combined government and industry investment of £370m will deliver 2,700 new PhD places in biosciences and AI.

Of this, £200m will fund 1,000 new PhD places over the next five years to study AI which could help diagnose diseases like cancer earlier and make industries, including aviation and automotive, more sustainable. The first 200 students will be studying at 14 universities across the country, working closely with 300 leading businesses, including AstraZeneca, Google, Rolls-Royce and NHS Trusts.

The students’ projects include:

  • working closely with the NHS to transform healthcare systems – helping address the world’s ageing society. This could improve diagnosis of life-threatening illnesses like cancer, accelerate the development and access to new drugs, design personalised medicine and improve care
  • helping to make buildings more energy-efficient, create new low-carbon materials, improve monitoring of climate temperatures and design greener transport, like planes, trains and cars

A further £170m will fund 1,700 places to study PhDs in biosciences helping to tackle issues like feeding the world’s growing population and helping people stay healthier for longer.

The new PhD researchers will be working towards:

  • finding innovative ways to feed nine billion people by 2050, and secure sustainable food production
  • developing renewable, low carbon sources of energy, transport fuels and chemicals to reduce dependency on fossil fuels
  • helping people stay healthier for longer as lifespans increase and society ages

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The UK has educated, trained and developed some of the best scientists in the world – and we must continue to lead the world in AI and technology with our incredible talent and innovative breakthroughs.

“That’s why we’re investing millions of pounds to create hundreds of new AI and bioscience PhDs, so new research and development can thrive here in the UK and solve the biggest challenges that face us – from climate change to better healthcare.”

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