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£6million project to develop Artificial Intelligence in Greater Manchester


Expertise in Artificial Intelligence is to be shared with Greater Manchester businesses as part of a £6m project to develop new products and services.

The Greater Manchester AI Foundry is led by 4 North West universities and supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

“AI has an incredible power to innovate. From disease detection using deep learning, to autonomous vehicle technology using machine learning and computer vision – AI has the capability of creating new products and services which will greatly benefit society and help businesses advance, remain competitive and in turn boost the local economy,” explained Keith Miller, Principal Investigator for AI Foundry from Manchester Metropolitan, which is leading the project.

“With that in mind, it has been incredibly exciting to work on this collaboration between the four universities, which aims to translate world-leading AI research into novel products and services. 

“We believe the Greater Manchester AI Foundry will help place the region’s SMEs at the forefront of AI application, nationally and internationally.”

The Foundry will work with a minimum of 170 SMEs in the region and help them advance their companies through the application of AI.

“In Greater Manchester it is our ambition to be recognised as a world-leading digital city region, the launch of the Greater Manchester AI Foundry is a significant step towards these ambitions, helping our city-region’s start-ups and SMEs advance their businesses at a time when they need it most,” added Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.

“Following the success of the Greater Manchester Cyber Foundry it is great to see our world-leading universities working together again to share their specialist knowledge to support our SMEs to thrive. In the current climate, the AI Foundry will be integral in helping our SMEs build back better through the application of AI.”

The Government estimates that AI will contribute £232bn to the UK economy by 2030 and the AI Foundry will work across 4 key themes: advanced material and manufacturing; clean growth; digital and creative media; and health innovation.

The first phase will focus on business development and the second will look at development of prototypes for at least 30 SMEs.

“It is clear from the recent months of lockdown the value of technology and the part it has played in supporting the local community and economy. 

“The Greater Manchester AI Foundry will make a major contribution to both regional and national priorities, supporting the promotion and adoption of AI and helping Greater Manchester to build back better,” said Professor Andy Gibson, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Manchester Metropolitan.

“As a University, we can bring significant expertise of AI, big data and much more to this project due to our extensive research in this area – which is why I am delighted that we are leading this new and innovative scheme.”

The project will receive £3m from the ERDF, with partners matching the funding.

The 4 universities are Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Manchester, the University of Salford and Lancaster University.


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