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Posted on October 31, 2018 by staff

Microsoft investing millions to develop AI talent in UK

The University of Cambridge is teaming up with Microsoft to help tackle the problem of ‘brain drain’ in AI and machine learning research.

The software giant will help increase AI research capacity and capability at Cambridge by supporting visiting researchers, postdoctoral researchers, PhD students and interns from the UK, EU and beyond.

The organisations said a shortage of skills in AI and machine learning has led to many large tech companies recruiting from academia, leaving behind a shortage in research and teaching capacity at universities.

The new initiative builds on more than two decades of collaboration between the University and Microsoft Research Cambridge. It will be formally announced today at the Microsoft Future Decoded Conference in London.

“By focusing on a two-way collaborative initiative for long-term growth, not short-term gain, we are taking a different approach to this problem, said Chris Bishop, lab director, Microsoft Research Cambridge.

“We are working with universities to build up AI and machine learning talent and research in the UK.”

Professor Andy Neely, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for enterprise and business relations at Cambridge, added: “By working together with industry on issues such as how best to use AI and machine learning, we can not only help solve complex issues for industry, but continue to support world-leading research and train the next generation of leaders in the field.”

Earlier this year the government and the AI sector agreed a deal to further boost the UK’s global reputation as a leader in developing AI technologies, ensuring the UK remains a go-to destination for AI innovation and investment.

The collaboration between Microsoft and Cambridge was hailed by both digital secretary Jeremy Wright and business secretary Greg Clark.

Wright hailed the UK as “a beacon for international talent” and stressed that Britain must “do all we can to capitalise on our global advantage in this technology”.

Clark added: “The UK has an unmatched heritage in AI and its application in emerging sectors and technologies.

“This partnership between one of the world’s leading universities and technology developer and Microsoft is a great example of collaboration between business and academia.”