New funding for computer chips ‘to boost AI and net zero tech advances’

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology has announced more than £25m worth of investment in chip research.

Martyn Landi
Wednesday 07 February 2024 10:02 GMT
The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology has announced more than £25m in new funding for British scientists working on computer chips that could power AI and tech advances to help the UK reach net zero (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology has announced more than £25m in new funding for British scientists working on computer chips that could power AI and tech advances to help the UK reach net zero (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

More than £25 million in new funding has been unveiled for British scientists working on computer chips that could power advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and tech to help the UK reach net zero.

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) has announced the new cash injection to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the department’s creation.

It will see research centres in Southampton and Bristol given £11 million each to aid scientists in their work on computer chips, including semiconductors, which are a key component in nearly every electrical device in the world, from mobile phones to medical equipment.

The increasing global reliance on technology has seen semiconductors become recognised as an area of global strategic significance.

Currently, the semiconductor production sector is dominated by Taiwan.

This isn’t just about fostering growth and creating high-skilled jobs, it's about positioning the UK as a hub of global innovation, setting the stage for breakthroughs that have worldwide impact

Tech and digital economy minister Saqib Bhatti

DSIT said the new investment will help convert UK-based scientific findings into business realities by supporting promising research and projects, and giving researchers access to state-of-the-art technology for testing prototypes.

Minister for tech and the digital economy Saqib Bhatti said: “This investment marks a crucial step in advancing our ambitions for the semiconductor industry, with these centres helping bring new technologies to market in areas like net zero and AI, rooting them right here in the UK.

“Just nine months into delivering on the National Semiconductor Strategy, we’re already making rapid progress towards our goals.

“This isn’t just about fostering growth and creating high-skilled jobs, it’s about positioning the UK as a hub of global innovation, setting the stage for breakthroughs that have worldwide impact.”

Elsewhere, an additional £4.8 million of funding has been pledged for 11 semiconductor skills projects around the country, with the aim of raising awareness of the semiconductor industry and addressing skills gaps in the UK workforce.

The latest investment is part of the Government’s £1 billion National Semiconductor Strategy, a 20-year plan to grow the UK’s semiconductor sector.

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