UK and Canada have solidified their collaboration in science and innovation through the signing of dual agreements.
AI Compute Agreement
In a pioneering approach, UK Secretary of State for Science, Innovation, and Technology, Michelle Donelan and Canadian Minister for Innovation, Science, and Industry François-Phillippe Champagne inked the Memorandum of Understanding on compute in Ottawa, marking a significant milestone in the two nations' joint efforts in AI research and development.
Donelan said, “The UK’s unique partnership with Canada across science, innovation, and technology is built on a shared desire to be an active force for good on the global stage.”
This groundbreaking agreement on AI compute, a crucial element in AI development, underscores a commitment to explore ways both countries can provide secure and affordable access to computing capacity, essential for advancing AI systems on both sides of the Atlantic. This collaboration extends to strategic areas like biomedicine, emphasizing joint efforts with like-minded nations on models for compute capability collaboration.
Compute is indispensable in AI development, facilitating various tasks from data processing to training cutting-edge AI models. Given the rapid evolution of technology, access to compute power is instrumental in conducting state-of-the-art research.
Champagne commented, “Canada and the UK have a deep relationship that encourages collaboration to help both countries thrive… These agreements will strengthen our AI companies and enable our researchers, as well as encourage sharing research excellence with the global South to build international capacity and address worldwide challenges.”
In addition to the compute agreement, the UK and Canada have renewed their partnership to enhance broader collaboration in science and innovation. This renewed commitment identifies key technologies, including quantum, AI, semiconductors, engineering biology, and clean energy, where the two nations will intensify efforts to foster research and idealize innovative solutions to address global challenges.
Scientific diplomacy is also a focal point, with both countries exchanging expertise on international standards, governance, and regulation of new technologies. This collaboration aims to inform discussions with international forums such as the G7 and G20.
Academics and researchers from both nations have been actively sharing data and forming partnerships since the initial science and innovation partnership in 2017. Between 2020 and 2023, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) awarded GBP 350 million in collaborative programs with Canada. This includes industry-led partnerships for quantum technologies and projects addressing climate-driven changes in Inuit Nunangat in collaboration with the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.