Tech Nation has revealed new data which suggests the UK leads Europe for AI investment.

It reports that the UK’s AI investment already totals $1.48bn in 2020, in front of France ($5.38m) and Germany ($4m). The figures put the UK third in the world for VC investment in AI after the US ($17.94) and China ($9.54bn).

Looking into sub-sectors, the majority of AI investment so far this year flows into Big Data ($872.42mn), TMT ($712.96mn), SaaS ($588.39mn), and Fintech ($474.65mn), it reports.

AI investment in Mobility Tech has already surpassed 2019 levels by 240%, whilst Fintech is already up by 120%, SAAS by 36% and Cyber Security by 10%.

Demand for AI skills is also rising in the UK, with an increase of 111% between 2017 and 2019. A quarter (25%) of all Data Scientist roles advertised in 2019 required AI as a skill, this was the highest proportion seen amongst digital tech roles in 2019.

The figures are revealed as Tech Nation announces its new AI growth programme and the 32 companies that have been selected to join.

Companies joining the programme are applying AI to solve social problems, including tackling disinformation online, diagnosing conditions like cancer, and combating climate change.

Firms include Panakei, a universal engine for precision cancer diagnosis, led by founder Pahini Pandya who has more than 10 years experience in translational cancer research.

Archangel uses AI and drones to track wide areas of land, with wildlife monitoring one such use case to combat poaching. Rahko backed by Balderton, is one of the world’s first companies using quantum computing and AI for drug discovery.

Harry Rhys Davies, AI Programme Lead, Tech Nation commented: “The UK must take every opportunity to nurture scalable, globally-competitive, homegrown AI companies that solve real problems and have far-reaching impacts on the productivity potential of the economy.”

“The Applied AI growth programme aims to do exactly this, taking 32 of the UK’s most exciting AI scaleups, and through peer-to-peer learning and mentoring removing many of the unique barriers to growth that companies in this sector face. Backed by leading VCs and led by an exceptionally talented group of founders, this cohort of companies is primed to make an impact.”