£1.5m AI scheme launched by UK government to tackle carbon emissions

The UK government has confirmed investment of £1.5m into a new AI innovation programme dedicated to reducing carbon emissions and helping the country achieve its net zero targets

With the UK aiming to achieve a net zero environment by 2050, the AI for Decarbonisation programme from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy forms part of the government’s £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio.

The funding will be granted in two initial streams:

  • Stream 1, worth up to £500,000, will go towards a virtual centre of excellence on AI innovation and decarbonisation, with investment being available until March 2025.
  • Stream 2, worth up to £1m, will go towards AI development projects dedicated to supporting the reduction of carbon nationally.

Additionally, additional government funding is planned to support innovation priority areas cited by the virtual centre of excellence as critical, for later in 2023.

“The UK is one of the world’s most advanced AI economies, and AI technology is already having a transformative impact on our economy and society. But there is tremendous potential to do more,” said Science Minister George Freeman.

“The AI for Decarbonisation programme offers an exciting opportunity to leverage and develop the UK’s outstanding expertise in the field. Putting this rapidly-evolving technology into action will enable us to save energy costs for businesses and households, create high-value, skilled jobs, and kickstart millions of pounds of private investment while supporting our net zero targets.”

AI investment facilitating talent development

According to Tech Nation, VC investment in UK-based AI companies in 2022 totals $3.6bn so far, with Q2 of this year hitting an all-time quarterly year-on-year record for funding — $840m.

Tech Nation CEO Gerard Grech believes that this finding helps demonstrates AI’s power to transform a wide range of industries.

However, Grech went on to warn against complacency, adding: “We need to continue backing this enabler technology which will become so fundamental to helping solve the UK’s productivity puzzle in future years.”

Projects interested in applying for funding through the AI for Decarbonisation scheme can do up until the 19th January 2023.


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Aaron Hurst

Aaron Hurst is Information Age's senior reporter, providing news and features around the hottest trends across the tech industry.