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17 October 2023

CHIA announces its first funding partnership with Google

The University of Cambridge and Google are building on their long-standing partnership with a multi-year research collaboration agreement and a Google grant for the University’s new Centre for Human-Inspired AI to support progress in responsible AI that is inspired by and benefits people.

The new multi-year research agreement creates the potential for researchers and scientists from Google and the University to more closely collaborate on foundational AI research projects in areas of shared interest across a range of disciplines, including climate and sustainability, and AI ethics and safety.

Google has also become the first funding partner for the university’s Centre for Human-Inspired Artificial Intelligence (CHIA), led by Professor Anna Korhonen, Professor Per Ola Kristensson and Dr. John Suckling, bringing together researchers and experts from computer science, engineering and multiple disciplines to develop AI that is grounded in human values and benefits humanity. Google’s unrestricted grant is helping enable the Centre’s AI research in areas like responsible AI, human-centred robotics, human-machine interaction, healthcare, economic sustainability and climate change. The donation is also funding students from underrepresented groups to carry out PhDs within the CHIA to help broaden diversity in the AI research community.

The expanded partnership builds on years of collaboration between Google Research, Google DeepMind and the University of Cambridge. Google provides funding for academic research, facilitates collaboration between faculty and Google researchers, and supports exceptional computer science students through its PhD Fellowship Programme. Google DeepMind funds scholarships for students from underrepresented backgrounds studying AI-related fields, as well as a postdoctoral Fellowship, to help build a stronger and more inclusive AI community. Google DeepMind also endowed the first DeepMind Professor of Machine Learning at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Computer Science and Technology to help drive its machine learning and artificial intelligence research.

Matt Brittin, President of Google EMEA and University of Cambridge alum, commented: “AI has huge potential to benefit people across the world – whether it’s through making daily life that bit easier, or by tackling some of society’s biggest challenges. It’s vital that we work together to seize this opportunity. By collaborating with one of our world-leading British academic institutions, we can enable AI research that is bold, responsible and designed to meet the needs of people across the country. This partnership also reaffirms Google’s commitment to the UK as a global AI and technology leader.”

Jessica Montgomery, Director of ai@cam, the University of Cambridge’s flagship mission on artificial intelligence, commented: “The University of Cambridge can be an engine for AI innovation and a steward of advancements in this exciting field. Translating advances in AI to benefits for science, citizens, and society requires interdisciplinary research that is deeply connected to real-word needs. The research collaboration agreement announced today will support research activities across the University. We want to leverage the world-leading expertise found across the University to enable exciting new advances in responsible AI.”

Michelle Donelan, Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, added: “Artificial intelligence can offer us enormous opportunities – growing the economy, creating new jobs and making lives longer, healthier and happier for British people. To seize those opportunities, we must bring together insights from business and academia to encourage the safe and responsible development of AI. That is why we are welcoming the partnership which Google and the University of Cambridge have announced today.

As we prepare for next month’s AI Safety Summit, this partnership shows that the UK – home to world-leading research facilities as well as some of the biggest tech companies in the world – is perfectly placed to support the innovation that underpins this critical technology.”

Professor Anna Korhonen, Director of CHIA, said: “Here at the Centre for Human-Inspired Artificial Intelligence our researchers are dedicated to making sure that people are put at the very heart of new developments in AI. As our first funding partner, Google has been with us from the start of our journey, helping enable the breakthrough interdisciplinary research that we do. Partnerships like this – between academia and industry – will continue to be vital for the successful development of human-inspired AI.”

Zoubin Ghahramani, VP, Research, Google DeepMind is a Professor of Information Engineering at the University of Cambridge and has spearheaded this expanded partnership. He commented: “Google and the University of Cambridge share a deep commitment to developing AI responsibly, which means grounding innovation in scientific research, human values and our AI principles. We’re excited by CHIA’s potential to set new standards in responsible and human-centric AI development, and unlock AI discoveries that could benefit everyone.”

A recent report, commissioned by Google and compiled by Public First, quantified the opportunity AI presents to enhance the lives and businesses of everyone across the UK. It found AI-powered innovation could create over £400 billion in economic value for the UK economy by 2030. To ensure everyone can tap into that potential, regardless of whether they’re in higher education, Google has launched free training to offer people and businesses practical skills and knowledge to capture the benefits of AI.