Government puts £12m into AI-powered vacuum cleaners and dolphin-protection tech

Written by Sam Trendall on 11 July 2019 in News
News

Money invested in four partnerships between business and academia

Credit: Pete Markham/CC BY-SA 2.0

The government is investing £12m in the development of new technologies including robots that can perform household tasks and products to protect dolphins from noise protection.

The money is being invested by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) in four partnerships between universities and the private sector. Government funding is being supplemented by a further £17.5m in cash from commercial partners.

The first project being funded involves work to develop materials that do not make noise underwater. This, the government said, will not only improve the life expectancy of dolphins, fish, and other marine creatures, but will also have a positive impact on human health. The universities of Nottingham and Southampton will work with Lloyd’s Register and BAE Systems on this project.

The second programme of work to receive funding is an initiative to explore how artificial intelligence and machine learning could speed up the production of new medicines. The University of Nottingham is again involved, alongside the University of Strathclyde and GlaxoSmithKline.

Brunel University and Constellium have also been given money to support their work to create “a new range of fully recyclable ultra-high strength aluminum alloys for the automotive industry”, the government said.

The fourth project, meanwhile, will see Imperial College London work with vacuum cleaner-manufacturer Dyson. The partnership will be dedicated to “creating the next generation of household products using AI to pave the way for robots to complete advanced household tasks”.

Science and innovation minister Chris Skidmore said: “The UK is home to world-beating businesses and researchers and these partnerships will grow that reputation, bringing together the best minds from industry and academia to create technologies that address generational challenges facing the globe.”

The new tranche of funding follows 11 projects that were last year supported by ESPRC – which is part of the BEIS-sponsored non-departmental body UK Research and Innovation.

Professor Lynn Gladden, EPSRC’s executive chair, said: “These four prosperity partnership projects link the UK’s world-class research base to some of the country’s most successful industries. As these proposals were advanced by business, they will address challenges that are relevant to industry’s need but will also advance science and engineering. The value industry places on these collaborations is evident from the level of finance and resource committed in each of the partnerships.”

 

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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