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BRIEFING Grants for AI pioneers


Seven pioneering projects will share a prize fund of £105,000 to champion the use of artificial intelligence to solve social issues in Scotland. Ranging from using satellite data to protect Scotland’s wilderness to developing smart artificial limbs that can sense and handle objects, the projects are part of Nesta in Scotland’s AI for Good prize fund programme. Te programme aims to help demys- tify Artificial Intelligence and showcase some of the innovative


work being done in Scotland to harness the potential of AI to improve people’s lives. Adam Lang, Head of Nesta in Scotland, said: “When people think about AI they can often think of it as something negative from science fiction or dystopian stories. “But AI has enormous poten-


tial to improve people’s lives in Scotland and address social issues from chronic health problems to how we deal with our climate emergency.” l


Government funding for 5G project in Scotland


A Scottish university is to receive £5m in UK government fund- ing for an innovative 5G project. Te University of Strathclyde will take part in the 5G New Tinking project looking at the provision of mobile and wireless connectivity using the shared spectrum and local spectrum licensing options


announced by Ofcom in July 2019. Working closely with com- munities, the project will develop a community toolkit to allow the creation of networks that provide rural connectivity for cooperatives of consumers, local enterprise, councils and other stakeholders. l


Boost for Edinburgh’s tech sector


Edinburgh’s tech sector has seen an investment leap of 67% in the past year, according to new figures. Te annual Tech Nation report shows the capital secured £120m in venture capital in 2019, compared to £70m the previous year. Data revealed a total of £200m in venture capital investment across Scotland last year. Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said:


“Investment into Scotland’s tech sector was an impressive £200m in 2019, making it one of the fastest growing industries in the country. We are deter- mined to create the conditions digital businesses in Scotland need to succeed and are invest- ing heavily in gigabit speed broadband, 5G, cyber security, digital skills, and research and development.” l


£6.7m digital learning hub launched


A £6.7 million digital network to improve access to training for students from across the South of Scotland has been launched by Deputy First Minister, John Swinney. Te network is the result of a


collaboration between the Scottish Funding Council, Dumfries and Galloway College, Scottish Borders College, and the South of Scotland Enterprise Partnership. It is funded


by the Scottish Government. Te network will use a ‘hub


and spoke’ approach to extend access to quality training and learning opportunities across the region. Hubs focused on Care, Renewable Energy, Construction and Engineering will be based at college campuses in Dumfries, Galashiels, Stranraer and Hawick, allowing students to participate in classes online. l


4 | FUTURESCOT | SPRING 2020


No one ‘left behind’ as government collaborates on digital response to virus


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