The UK and France are set to enhance their collaboration in research and artificial intelligence (AI) following recent announcements of new funding initiatives and partnerships.

French Minister for Higher Education and Research, Sylvie Retailleau, visited London for discussions with UK Secretary of State, Michelle Donelan, marking their first in-person meeting since the UK’s association to Horizon Europe. The ministers are set to reinforce the longstanding research links between the two nations.

As part of the collaboration efforts, the UK and France have pledged £800,000 towards joint research projects, including those under Horizon Europe, aimed at facilitating groundbreaking research and development initiatives. This initiative aims to build upon previous successful collaborations, such as advancing potential HIV-AIDS vaccines to clinical trials.

AI Safety Partnership

In a significant development, the UK AI Safety Institute and France’s Inria (The National Institute for Research in Digital Science and Technology) have entered into a landmark partnership to promote the safe and responsible development of AI technology. This partnership precedes France’s hosting of the upcoming AI Safety Summit later this year, reinforcing the global efforts to ensure the ethical deployment of AI technologies.

The inaugural meeting of the French-British joint committee on Science, Technology and Innovation also takes place today, aiming to foster collaboration in priority areas such as AI, space, and research security. The committee, meeting every two years, brings together key stakeholders from both countries to explore promising opportunities for joint research and development initiatives.

Ministerial Statements

UK Secretary of State Michelle Donelan highlighted the significance of supporting innovators to drive economic growth and job creation through collaborative efforts with France. French Minister Sylvie Retailleau emphasised the international dimension of research collaboration, underscoring the strategic partnership between the UK and France in advancing science capabilities globally.

The collaboration between the UK and France builds upon a rich history of joint scientific achievements, including landmark projects like the MicroCarb satellite and membership in CERN. As the UK deepens its international science partnerships, including recent agreements with countries like South Korea, Israel, and India, the government reaffirms its commitment to fostering global collaboration in scientific research and innovation.