British Queen celebrates


Ten teams from across the UK have been selected as finalists for the inaugural Manchester Prize, a prestigious award celebrating AI innovations for public good.

Each team will receive £100,000 to develop their solutions over the next eight months, with one team eventually winning the £1 million grand prize next spring.

Announced by the Prime Minister at the AI Seoul Summit today (Tuesday, 21 May), the Manchester Prize aims to drive AI advancements in energy, environment, and infrastructure. The selected projects address pressing issues such as food security, solar energy integration, and battery manufacturing.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt highlighted the economic potential of AI, noting the sector already employs over 50,000 people and is expected to significantly boost the UK economy in the coming years. He emphasized that investing in AI innovation is a strategic move to foster growth.

Viscount Camrose, Minister for AI and Intellectual Property, praised the initiative for placing British AI talent at the forefront of tackling major global challenges. He expressed anticipation for the transformative solutions the finalists will develop, particularly in energy, environment, and infrastructure.

Among the finalists are:

Quartz Solar AI Nowcasting by Open Climate Fix: Utilizing AI to forecast cloud formation and improve solar energy integration into the grid.

CRE.AI.TIVE by Phytoform Labs: Addressing food security with AI-driven discovery of climate-resilient crop traits.

Greyparrot Insight by Using AI waste analytics to map global waste flows and enhance recycling and packaging design.

Polaron by Polaron: Revolutionizing battery manufacturing with AI-driven analysis of advanced materials.

In its first year, the Manchester Prize attracted nearly 300 entries from UK-led teams, showcasing a wide array of innovative ideas. Finalists will receive not only the £100,000 prize but also comprehensive support packages, including funding for computing resources, investor readiness support, and access to expert networks, positioning them for success in vying for the £1 million grand prize in spring 2025.

The economic impact of AI is substantial, with estimates suggesting it could generate £400 billion for the UK economy by 2030. The sector’s growth is projected to exceed 15% over the next six years, offering vast opportunities for new businesses to flourish.

The UK is already witnessing significant AI-driven investment, exemplified by British AI company Wayve’s recent $1.05 billion investment for developing next-generation self-driving vehicles. Photo by mikemacmarketing, Wikimedia commons.