Cisco backs government’s Industrial Strategy with $100m investment pledge

Written by Sam Trendall on 20 July 2018 in News
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Network manufacturer to fund a number of initiatives, including the establishment of a 250-person AI research facility at University College London

Credit: Prayitno/CC BY 2.0

Technology vendor Cisco is to invest $100m in the UK to support the government’s Industrial Strategy.

The flagship initiative that will be funded using the cash is an artificial intelligence research centre at University College London. The facility, which Cisco claims will be one of the largest of its kind in the world, will house up to 250 researchers, academics, and masters students. It will open later this year.

Cisco will also be joining forces with two other technology firms – Bronze Software Labs and GDS Digital Services – to work with the public sector in Suffolk to foster digital inclusion. The aim of the project, which is backed by money from Innovate UK, is to remove the barriers to getting online for the estimated one in six adults that do not have internet access at home. Suffolk County Council, West Suffolk Council, and the University of Suffolk are all taking part in the scheme.


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In the coming months, the networking company will also be supporting projects in areas such as digital railways, autonomous vehicles, and clean energy.

Prime minister Theresa May said: "The decision by Cisco to make such a significant commitment to digital innovation across the UK is welcome news and is a vote of confidence in our Modern Industrial Strategy.  I particularly welcome the announcement of the new AI research centre in partnership with UCL. Research has shown that AI could add £232bn to the UK economy by 2030, and developments like this will help with our ambition to put the UK at the forefront of the AI and data revolution."

The investment pledge forms part of Cisco’s ongoing Country Digital Accelerator programme across the UK. The scheme has already supported initiatives including the installation of WiFi on trains in Scotland, and the launch of a programme to provide digital skills training through libraries.

Chief executive Chuck Robbins said: “We believe that the UK’s expertise in AI and its commitment to making sure future innovators have the right digital skills will help ensure the nation’s citizens are well-positioned to capture the opportunity ahead.”

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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