The UK and France have announced new funding initiatives and partnerships aimed at advancing global AI safety. The developments come in the wake of the UK’s association with Horizon Europe, a move that was broadly seen as putting the divisions of Brexit in the past and the repairing of relations for the good of the continent.

French Minister for Higher Education and Research, Sylvie Retailleau, is scheduled to meet with UK Secretary of State Michelle Donelan in London today for discussions marking a pivotal moment in bilateral scientific cooperation.

Building upon a rich history of collaboration that has yielded groundbreaking innovations such as the Concorde and the Channel Tunnel, the ministers will endorse a joint declaration aimed at deepening research ties between the two nations. This includes a commitment of £800,000 in new funding towards joint research efforts, particularly within the framework of Horizon Europe.

A landmark partnership between the UK’s AI Safety Institute and France’s Inria will also be unveiled, signifying a shared commitment to the responsible development of AI technology. This collaboration is timely, given France’s upcoming hosting of the AI Safety Summit later this year—which aims to build upon previous agreements and discussions on frontier AI testing achieved during the UK edition last year.

Furthermore, the establishment of the French-British joint committee on Science, Technology, and Innovation represents an opportunity to foster cooperation across a range of fields, including low-carbon hydrogen, space observation, AI, and research security.

UK Secretary of State Michelle Donelan said:

“The links between the UK and France’s brightest minds are deep and longstanding, from breakthroughs in aerospace to tackling climate change. It is only right that we support our innovators, to unleash the power of their ideas to create jobs and grow businesses in concert with our closest neighbour on the continent.

Research is fundamentally collaborative, and alongside our bespoke deal on Horizon Europe, this deepening partnership with France – along with our joint work on AI safety – is another key step in realising the UK’s science superpower ambitions.”

The collaboration between the UK and France underscores their shared commitment to advancing scientific research and innovation, with a focus on emerging technologies such as AI and quantum.

Sylvie Retailleau, French Minister of Higher Education and Research, commented:

“This joint committee is a perfect illustration of the international component of research – from identifying key priorities such as hydrogen, AI, space and research security – to enabling collaborative work and exchange of ideas and good practices through funding.

Doing so with a trusted partner as the UK – who just associated to Horizon Europe – is a great opportunity to strengthen France’s science capabilities abroad, and participate in Europe’s strategic autonomy openness.”

As the UK continues to deepen its engagement with global partners in the field of science and technology, these bilateral agreements serve as a testament to its ambition to lead the way in scientific discovery and innovation on the world stage.

(Photo by Aleks Marinkovic on Unsplash)

See also: UK Home Secretary sounds alarm over deepfakes ahead of elections

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