The funding is being provided by DSIT and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is managing this process on DSIT’s behalf.
We are seeking to identify and select organisations with the ability to host and operate large-scale compute systems for AI applications, comprising at least 2,000 graphics processing units or equivalent AI-optimised compute architecture. They should also be capable of being delivered in the planned timescales 2024 to 2026.
Funding is intended to expand the AI Research Resource, a series of public clusters which will provide compute to AI researchers and startups in the UK.
- follows the Chancellors 2023 Autumn Statement: “the government will be investing a further £500 million in compute for AI over the next two financial years” to expand the UK’s AI Research Resource
- is in addition to the £300 million for the first phase of the new AI Research Resource primarily at Bristol and Cambridge
- follows the recommendation by the Future of Compute Review in 2023
This funding opportunity is to identify potential host sites and associate support teams to manage the next wave of AI compute investment.
This funding opportunity is open to host site providers and their support teams who have experience and the physical capability of hosting a national large scale compute investment, within the timescales of this funding opportunity.
Sites must be capable of receiving physical infrastructure and starting initial testing and operation by January 2026, including necessary completion of power upgrades and site construction. However, to be eligible for the first year of investment, sites will need to be able to deliver some infrastructure in the 2024 and 2025 financial year (6 April 2024 to 5 April 2025).
Up to £500 million of funding is potentially available. This covers set up and operation for a period of five years following final acceptance with a view to enhancing compute provision for AI research capability. There is an option to extend for a further one year.
Awards are intended to be made in 2024 with additional spend in the 2025 to 2026 financial year.
Up to £500 million of funding is potentially available to support the following costs:
- site development
- other directly relevant costs
We may support more than one site with this funding. For clarity to research organisations this will be paid at 100% full economic cost.
Please note that the total funding available may not all be awarded to the host sites directly. Procurement of the necessary supporting technology may be conducted directly through UKRI or HM government procurement processes. No decision on the technology provider has been made in advance of this funding opportunity, which relates solely to the hosting and operation of the service.
What we will not fund
We will not fund:
- sites outside the UK
- hosts wanting to provide compute provision which is not optimised for AI workloads
- teams with no experience of hosting and managing large computer infrastructures
- teams with no knowledge of and experience of working with the wider UK research ecosystem
- sites which cannot credibly demonstrate they can deliver to current project timelines