This funding opportunity aims to support activities that maximise the impact of responsible AI research on the:
- the environment
- quality of life
Projects need to build on existing research and look to achieve impact within the lifetime of the project or demonstrate strong potential for impact soon after the project is completed.
Your proposed project could deliver translational research and knowledge exchange (KE). This includes testbeds, datasets, frameworks, processes, or tools, that can help organisations or individuals to adopt and use AI responsibly to meet society’s needs for justice, equity, sustainability, and inclusivity.
RAI UK champions a reflective, inclusive approach to responsible AI development that does not ignore AI’s potential harms but acknowledges, understands and mitigates them for diverse societies.
Successful proposals would seek to maximise the impact of their solutions by proposing the following types of support:
- early-stage knowledge exchange: supporting proof of concept, proof of value, or prototype development projects with commercial, third sector or policy partners, particular with respect to solving challenges with designing, deploying or using AI technologies responsibly
- secondments and people exchange: to achieve effective impact of responsible AI knowledge, skills and expertise in a timely manner. Note: a separate funding opportunity will be issued for international partnerships
- research software engineering support: to allow greater exploitation of research platforms, results and testbeds for responsible AI design, deployment or use by industry, civil society or government
- six-month residencies: supporting postdoctoral researchers for a six-month residency with an external partner organisation in order to develop KE projects. Please note that proposals with strong potential for knowledge transfer partnerships (KTP) will have priority. While researchers are encouraged to propose activities with any appropriate impact types, we particularly encourage proposals that fit the RAI UK vision:
- help enable responsible AI to power benefits for everyday life
- work in collaboration with researchers, industry professionals, policymakers and stakeholders to drive an ecosystem that will be responsive to the needs of society
In particular, we encourage interdisciplinary collaborations and collaborations between researchers and others to:
- develop methodologies for responsible AI
- support the development of legal and responsible innovation toolkits that can be used by small and medium sized enterprises and large corporates to help them meet current regulation and anticipate future changes to regulation and standards in AI
- establish policy engagement activities that enhance conversations involving policymakers, researchers, practitioners, end-users, and the public
In addition to collaborating with the wider programme, it is anticipated that successful applicant teams will also engage with stakeholders and users of the research, who are essential to the design, conduct and impact of application-orientated research.
Note that all proposals submitted will be assessed equally, irrespective of which impact types the proposal aligns with.
We encourage projects to demonstrate clear routes to impact to address both imminent and long-term needs of industry, society and government.
For example, we encourage partnerships with projects or activities already funded by various UKRI programmes or Knowledge Transfer Networks (KTNs) that look to develop or use responsible and trustworthy AI systems at high technology readiness levels or inform policy around their use and deployment strategies.
However, such a partnership is not a requirement to receive funding. Please make it clear where the project looks to build on connections to existing networks and research programmes. RAI UK is keen to understand how this funding is building new connections and developing exiting relationships within the ecosystem, providing additional value within the landscape.
If you are planning to bring international collaborators (for example, industry or academic partners), please complete the checklist the RAI UK’s Trusted Research section and complete the checklist for academia (PDF, 114KB) by Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure and National Cyber Security Centre.
Note that based on the answers to this checklist, you may need to escalate this within your institution or department for a decision.
A balanced range of projects across non-academic impact types will be funded (political, economic, societal, technological, legal, environmental, health, cultural and other).
Learn about the RAI UK programme.
Up to £1.5 million funding is available through the RAI UK programme to support between five to ten grants for up to 18 months (at 80% full economic cost (FEC)).
We expect to fund impact activities requesting funding between £50,000 and £300,000 (at 80% FEC).
Please note that due to the nature of this funding, additional requirements on spending profile, reporting, monitoring and evaluation as well as grant extensions will apply. This will be reflected in the grant additional conditions, and those funded will need to comply with them.
Further details are provided in the additional information section. In particular, please note that any projects funded through this funding opportunity will have a fixed start and end date, and that no slippage to this date will be permitted.
Grants will be funded at 80% of the stated FEC. The remaining 20% must be contributed by the academic or industry partners submitting the proposal.
The grant can support any directly incurred costs, such as research staff time, consumables and travel to the project partners, and also directly allocated costs, such as investigator time or overheads.
Prospective applicants are not required to have existing collaborations or contacts within the RAI UK programme.
Current RAI UK investigators may not lead a project nor be costed on the grant, but they may be named either as co-investigator or project advisor depending on their contribution.
Project co-leads from outside the UK and from non-academic organisations may be included in your costings, up to 30% of the total FEC. Where justified, the time of these partners can be listed under ‘Exceptions’ and will be funded at 100% FEC. The combined costs for non-UK and non-academic project co-leads must not exceed 30% of the total FEC of the grant application.
We recognise that some partners may be employed by a government-funded organisation. To avoid the double counting of public funds in the costings, no salary costs will be covered for project co-leads from government bodies
Salary costs for new staff to be recruited for the proposed work can be submitted as part of the application. Travel and subsistence costs and overheads will be allowable if appropriately justified.
Equipment over £10,000 in value (including VAT) is only available in exceptional, well-justified circumstances. Items of equipment should be in the ‘Directly Incurred – Other Costs’ heading and will need robust justification. Items over £10,000 will be especially scrutinised, and only permitted if its remit for this funding opportunity is clearly justified.
Note that any deviation from the spending profile beyond 5% is not allowed (any underspend will not be refunded, nor any overspend allowed). No-cost extensions cannot be allowed.