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Pre-call announcement: Canada-UK Artificial Intelligence Initiative

The three Canadian federal research agencies and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) are pleased to announce their intention to launch the Canada-UK Artificial Intelligence Initiative.

The Canadian agencies include the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR); the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC); and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). The four councils involved in this UKRI initiative include the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC); the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC); the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC); and, the Medical Research Council (MRC). The ESRC is coordinating this initiative.


The rapid development and ever-growing global investment in Artificial Intelligence (AI) illustrate the undeniable impact that these technologies are having, and will have, on our economies, health and societies. Given the expertise of researchers in Canada and the United Kingdom, the Canadian agencies and UKRI are jointly supporting the development of a collaboration in AI between stakeholders in Canada and the UK aimed at building competitive and resilient economies, and maximising the social and health benefits.

This is a unique collaboration which will require each project to include a principal investigator (PI) based in Canada and a PI based in the UK who will share equally leadership and project management responsibilities. The Canadian and UK applicants will develop a common research plan and jointly prepare the full proposal. Proposals will be required to demonstrate a significant degree of, or novel approach to, interdisciplinarity with research that cuts across at least two of the following research domains:

  • social sciences and humanities
  • health and biomedical sciences
  • natural sciences and engineering (including computational and/or mathematical sciences).

In addition to promoting interdisciplinary AI, this call will support the development of responsible AI while establishing new partnerships and enhancing infrastructure and training between researchers in Canada and the UK. The outputs and outcomes of the research should allow for uptake by relevant stakeholders where possible.

Anticipated timeline

Stage Date
Launch 21 June 2019
Webinar July 2019
Compulsory intention to submit 19 August 2019
Call deadline 12 September 2019
Funding start date 1 February 2020

Note: These dates are subject to change and will be confirmed when the full call is announced.

Funds available

The total amount available for this funding opportunity is approximately CAN $14M (£8 million), enough to fund approximately 10 projects.

  • Canadian funding agencies: The maximum amount available for Canadian researchers is CAN $173,333 (£102,000) per year for up to three years, for a total of CAN $520,000 (£305,000) per project.
  • UKRI: The maximum amount available for UK researchers is a total of £625,000 (C$1.1 million) per project at 100% full economic cost (fEC).

Note: Canadian applicants are only eligible to receive funding from the Canadian agencies and UK applicants are only eligible to receive funding from UKRI.


Full initiative details will be available in the coming weeks. For questions about this strategic initiative and research objectives, please contact:

Manija Kamal, UKRI
Canada AI Call Team
Telephone: 01793 414 697 or +44 1793 413 136

For further information, applicants based in Canada should contact: 

Anna Torgerson
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Tel.: 613-996-3248

Disclaimer: The information contained in this announcement of the Canada-UK Artificial Intelligence Initiative funding opportunity is subject to change and does not commit the Canadian agencies or the UKRI to the requirements outlined in this version. The funding agencies anticipate that the final funding opportunity will be published on ESRC's website and promoted on the Canadian agencies websites later in June 2019.