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Cisco and UCL to launch AI research centre as part of £77m commitment to UK tech

Cisco is joining forces with University College London to launch “one of the world’s largest” artificial intelligence research centres later this year.

The centre will house between 200 to 250 masters students and researchers in an effort to capitalise on a technology forecast to contribute more than £230bn to the UK economy by 2030.

A spokesperson refused to disclose the value of Cisco’s investment in the centre, but it forms part of a $100m (£77m) commitment to accelerating digital innovation in the UK.

Theresa May described the move as “a vote of confidence in our Modern Industrial Strategy”. Digital secretary Jeremy Wright added that the UK was “the natural destination in Europe for tech companies to invest”.

UCL has developed a reputation in recent years for groundbreaking artificial intelligence research. DeepMind, a spinout of the university, was sold to Google in 2014 for a reported £400m and is now regarded as a world leader in the field. Another UCL spinout, Bloomsbury AI, was acquired by Facebook reportedly for at least $23m in July.

“It’s wonderful to renew our partnership with Cisco and work together to upskill the UK in machine learning and artificial intelligence,” said UCL provost Professor Michael Arthur. “I’m particularly looking forward to opening the new AI Centre in the coming months to position us as a sector leader in computer science.”