Artificial intelligence entrepreneurs encouraged to apply for £1m Manchester Prize

Artificial intelligence entrepreneurs encouraged to apply for £1m Manchester Prize
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Thu 7th Dec 2023

The government has launched the Manchester Prize, a £1m award scheme that recognises artificial intelligence innovations that tackle some of society's biggest challenges.

The focus of the initiative's first two years is solutions related to energy, environment and infrastructure such as:

  • AI technology to support the transition to electric vehicles by optimising charging methods.

  • reducing household energy consumption by using AI to identify targeted interventions like adding insulation.

  • helping lower costs for consumers by automating energy-intensive processes in manufacturing.

UK-based companies, non-profits, universities and charities can enter the award with a deadline of 1 February 2024. There are webinars providing information on how to enter.

In April, up to 10 entries will be selected and receive a prize of £100,000 to develop their ideas into a working prototype. An overall winner will get the £1m grand prize.

Judging will be based on the following criteria:

  • how innovative the solution is compared to current technology.

  • the impact of the solution.

  • long-term viability.

  • feasibility of delivering a working prototype.

  • evidence of safe and ethical AI development.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said:

"Manchester is the birthplace of the world's first modern computer, and has inspired countless innovations in computer science. I hope this prize will in turn inspire the next generation to tackle some of society’s biggest challenges.

"The UK is the leading European tech ecosystem ahead of Germany and France, and with initiatives like this we can cement our position as a science and technology superpower, helping grow our economy.

"The Manchester Prize is an open competition, enabling a much broader community of innovators to enter, and allowing the UK to draw on talent across all sectors. The namesake of the Manchester Prize is the Manchester Baby, the world's first computer with an electronic memory, which was built at the University of Manchester."

Government's approach to artificial intelligence

The government has made several announcements around AI, which it says employs over 50,000 people in the UK and contributed £3.7bn to the economy last year.

A report by Google said the technology could provide a £400bn boost to the UK economy if policies are introduced that enhance research and development and improve digital skills.

Other AI funding launched by the government includes the £100m BridgeAI initiative which focuses on agriculture, creative industries, construction and transport. These are sectors which the government considers as with high potential to benefit from AI.

Critics of AI technologies, that underpin services such as the popular ChatGPT service, say there are risks around human rights, privacy and safety.

In March the government released a whitepaper "to guide the use of artificial intelligence in the UK, to drive responsible innovation and maintain public trust in this revolutionary technology".

At the government's AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park in November, 28 countries signed an agreement to establish a shared understanding of the opportunities and risks posed by frontier AI.

Relevant artificial intelligence resources

How small businesses can leverage AI

A small business owner's guide to using AI tools

Webinar: Discover AI tools for your business

Lunch and Learn: Revolutionise your content strategy with ChatGPT

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance journalist and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I'm also Enterprise Nation's news reporter and Bristol Local Leader. I have 20 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from famous names like Sir Richard Branson and Deborah Meaden to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I now freelance for Enterprise Nation as the website's news reporter and as the host of the Small Business sessions podcast. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community in my role as Enterprise Nation's Local Leader for Bristol. I also have strong connections with other major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 100 events including conferences with an audience of hundreds for international brands like Xero and Facebook and live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography.

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