These Grants Are Helping AI Startups And Businesses In The UK

The Chancellor recently held the annual Spring Budget speech and in the speech, a strategy to improve the role of artificial intelligence in the UK’s economy, particularly within the creative industries, was presented.

In the speech, financial incentives were also introduced in an effort to attract leading AI researchers and engineers from across the world to British universities, research institutions, and SMEs.

The speech also details initiatives aimed at advancing the innovative application of AI to streamline and elevate creative production processes.

This approach demonstrates the government’s ambition to secure the UK’s position as a top global center for AI talent and innovation, driving growth in various sectors. Below are a few UK grants that AI companies and researchers can take up on in the coming months.


Responsible Artificial Intelligence


Overview of the Grant


This grant is provided by RAI UK, representing UKRI, to support research into Responsible Artificial Intelligence (RAI). The aim is to ensure that AI technologies are developed and used responsibly across societies.

Funding is directed towards enabling world-leading researchers from diverse fields to engage in activities focused on strategic RAI themes.


Eligibility and Target Audience


The funding is targeted at UK higher education institutions, public sector research establishments, research council institutes, and other UKRI-approved organizations.

The call is open to diverse, multidisciplinary teams that can include industry and public sector collaborations. Principal Investigators must be UK residents and meet specific eligibility requirements set by UKRI.


Important Dates and Deadlines


Expression of Interest deadline: 15 December 2023
Notification for invitation to full proposal: 5 January 2024
Full proposal submission start: 8 January 2024
Full proposal submission deadline: 16 February 2024, 16:00 GMT
Project start date: 1 May 2024
Projects duration: Up to 47 months


Additional Grant Information


The grant offers £2 million to £3.5 million per project, covering 80% of the full economic cost, with a total funding pool of £10 million intended to support 3-5 grants.

This opportunity is part of the larger RAI UK programme which addresses various aspects of responsible AI, including technical, social, legal, and ethical considerations. Successful projects are expected to contribute greatly to the RAI UK programme, fostering an interdisciplinary ecosystem for responsible AI research and application.


Futurescope High Growth AI Accelerator


What is the Grant/Who By


The Futurescope High Growth AI Accelerator is part of the BridgeAI programme by Innovate UK. It’s delivered by Digital Catapult, Innovate UK KTN, The Alan Turing Institute, and the Hartree Centre.

The programme is designed to push the adoption of AI and ML technologies in the UK, with this specific accelerator focusing on the transport sector.


Who Should Apply


The programme is open to UK-registered startups, scaleups, and SMEs working on AI-enabled services or AI-integrated infrastructure solutions.

Ideal candidates should have strong technical teams, available data, and a need for computational resources. They should focus on monitoring, intelligent surveillance, and predictive maintenance within the transport sector.


Deadlines and Timelines


Open Date: Applications begin on Wednesday, 14 February 2024.
Close Date: The deadline for applications is Tuesday, 13 March 2024 at 23:59.
Webinar Date: An open call webinar is scheduled for Tuesday, 20 February 2024.
Q&A Sessions: Prospective applicants can join Q&A sessions on 23 February, and 1 and 8 March 2024.


Extra Info on the Grant


The Futurescope High Growth AI Accelerator offers numerous benefits, including industry access and expertise, computational power, and tailored support. Participating companies will undergo diagnostic sessions and attend workshops covering various relevant topics.

The programme culminates in a demo day where participants can showcase their progress to representatives from the transport industry, potential investors, and customers. This initiative aims not only to enhance the efficiency of the UK transport sector but also to contribute towards the nation’s goals for net-zero emissions by promoting sustainable practices.





What is the Grant/Who By


The BridgeAI programme is an initiative from Innovate UK, funded with a £100 million investment, aiming to promote the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) across the UK.

This initiative is part of a broader strategy to enhance growth and competitiveness in key economic sectors, with additional funding from the Technologies Mission Fund (TMF).

The programme aims to unite businesses from priority sectors with AI experts and developers, creating an innovation network to drive UK productivity and efficiency.


Who Should Apply


The programme is tailored for UK registered micro, small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating within the agriculture, construction, transportation, creative industries, and more.

These sectors are identified for their high growth potential and currently low AI adoption rates. The initiative is particularly geared towards businesses looking to address challenges and increase productivity through AI solutions, in collaboration with AI developers or academic organisations.


Deadlines and Timelines


The key initiative under BridgeAI is the ‘Feasibility Studies for AI Solutions’ competition, offering up to £5 million in funding for short-term (4-6 month) projects. Applications for this competition are open to SMEs aiming to demonstrate their innovative AI solutions. Successful applicants can receive up to £50,000. The deadline for submissions is 24th May 2023.


Extra Info on the Grant


BridgeAI represents a collective effort to bolster AI adoption across the UK, supporting the National AI Strategy and aiding the transition to an AI-enabled economy.

Delivery partners include Digital Catapult, Hartree Centre, and the Alan Turing Institute. Over and above funding; it’s made for building a support network, connecting businesses with AI experts, and offering guidance to ensure responsible and effective AI implementation.

This initiative is a step towards positioning the UK as a leader in AI innovation, ensuring businesses of all sizes can leverage AI to enhance their operations and services.


AI Futures Grants


What is the Grant/Who By


The AI Futures Grants scheme is offered by the UK Government to support the relocation of early to mid-career AI researchers and engineers to the UK.

It aims to enhance the national AI talent pool by providing financial assistance for moving costs to eligible Higher Education Institutes, research organisations, and Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs).


Who is it For


This grant is for UK-based universities, research institutes, and SMEs that are looking to hire international AI talent. These organisations can apply for funding to cover the relocation expenses of exceptional AI professionals moving to the UK to join their team.

However, individual AI researchers and engineers cannot apply directly; they must be associated with an eligible hiring institution.


Deadlines and Timelines


The application period for the AI Futures Grants opens on 19 February 2024 at 12:00pm and closes on 19 March 2024 at 12:00am. The hiring and relocation process for international AI talents, supported by this grant, must occur between April 2024 and March 2025, as outlined in the grant funding agreement.


Extra Info on the Grant


Successful applicant organisations, referred to as AI Futures Grant Partners, can receive up to £10,000 per international hire and a maximum of £100,000 in total. The funds cover various relocation costs such as visa fees, transport, and initial living expenses.

These organisations must undergo due diligence checks and are required to promote their AI Futures-supported positions to attract international applicants. Post-hiring, they need to provide evidence of incurred costs to claim the grant money. This program is part of the UK’s initiative to strengthen its position as a global leader in AI by attracting top talents worldwide.


Amplifying Imagination – AI in the Creative Industries


What is the Grant/Who By


The “Amplifying Imagination – AI in the Creative Industries” grant is a funding opportunity offered by Digital Catapult, part of the MyWorld Challenge Call, and supported by UKRI Strength In Places. This grant aims to create innovation in the creative industries through the integration and advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions.


Who is it For


This grant is designed for developers, creative studios, startups, and scaleups working in the creative sectors. It targets those ready to explore and develop AI-driven projects that optimize creative production approaches and processes. Projects should address specific industry challenges and demonstrate clear advancements in AI application within the creative sector.


Deadlines and Timelines


Applications for the programme open on Monday, 19 February 2024, and the deadline for submission is Monday, 25 March 2024, at 23:59. The acceleration programme lasts 16 weeks, offering applicants a structured timeframe to develop their AI-driven creative projects.


Extra Info on the Grant


Successful applicants will receive £50,000 to either build a new product or further develop an existing prototype that meets the outlined creative industry challenges.

This initiative is not only about financial support but also includes regular meetings with industry partners, workshops, masterclasses, and access to the MyWorld network for additional guidance and resources.

The programme encourages applications that are innovative, cost-effective, and have the potential to provide long-term benefits to the West of England region. Applicants are urged to demonstrate how their projects will positively impact this area, ensuring ethical considerations and sustainable outcomes in their AI innovations.