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UK and France to strengthen ties in AI and data

06 July 2018

Digital Secretary Matt Hancock has visited Paris to announce a package of measures to strengthen ties between the UK and France’s digital industries.

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The aim is to boost both countries’ digital economies and forge closer links between cutting-edge companies from both nations.

Mr Hancock addressed a landmark bilateral conference on data and the digital economy alongside his French counterpart, Mounir Mahjoubi. He confirmed the UK’s world-leading centre for AI and data, The Alan Turing Institute, is signing an agreement with the French institute, DATAIA, to promote collaboration between the French and British sectors.

It will see the two organisations pursue collaborative research in areas of shared interest - for example, in fairness and transparency in the design and implementation of algorithms.

They will also work together to share expertise, paving the way for visiting researchers to spend time at each Institute and hosting joint workshops and funding calls.

At the UK-France Digital Colloque - a summit of more than 350 businesses, researchers and officials from both countries - Mr Hancock and Mr Majoubi also signed an accord on digital government. This will commit to extending their cooperation in the digital sector - on innovation, artificial intelligence, data and digital administration. 

Mr Hancock also confirmed London-based Entrepreneur First, a beacon for the UK’s excellence in developing tech talent, is to continue its global expansion with a new Paris office. He banged the drum for British tech and promoted the opportunities for business-to-business collaboration at a breakfast meeting with business leaders. 

Digital Secretary Matt Hancock said:

“The UK is a digital dynamo, increasingly recognised across the world as a place where ingenuity and innovation can flourish. We are home to four in ten of Europe’s tech businesses worth more than $1 billion and London is the AI capital of Europe.

“France is also doing great work in this area, and these new partnerships show the strength and depth of our respective tech industries and are the first stage in us developing a closer working relationship. This will help us better serve our citizens and provide a boost for our digital economies.”

Alan Wilson, CEO of The Alan Turing Institute, said:

“The fundamental goal behind all our research is to build a data and AI enriched world for the benefit of all. In order to do this, it is critical to forge international collaborations and share our knowledge, expertise and ideas with other research centres around the world.

“The Institute and DATAIA both share a vision for building research in data science and AI which crosses disciplinary boundaries and recognises the societal implications of data and algorithms. It is a pleasure to kickstart this engagement and we look forward to working with them to advance UK and French excellence in this area.”

Matt Clifford, EF co-founder and CEO, said:

“EF exists to enable the world’s most ambitious people to build extraordinary companies. It was founded in London, where we’ve already helped spark the development of high growth companies from scratch. 

"As we continue our global expansion we're looking forward to working with France's future founders and strengthening the ties between business and investors in both countries.”

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