WORLD Obesity, climate change and AI will be focus of UK research in coming year

WORLD

Obesity, climate change and AI will be focus of UK research in coming year

Xinhua

21:28, June 10, 2019

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File photo: VCG

LONDON, June 10 (Xinhua) -- Future challenges such as climate change, obesity, automation and artificial intelligence will be the focus of research initiatives in Britain over the coming year, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) announced Monday.

An ambitious list of research areas was outlined by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to ensure world-leading research and innovation continues to flourish in Britain. ESRC is part of UKRI.

The plans outline how UKRI aims to deliver the British government's target of spending 2.4 percent of Britain's GDP on research and innovation by 2027.

UKRI CEO Sir Mark Walport said: "The delivery plans outline how we will address the major global and societal challenges of our time, catalyse collaboration and contribute to meeting the government's ambitious 2.4 percent target."

Since its launch a year ago, UKRI has awarded nearly 4,600 research and innovation grants and supported 24,000 projects.

ESRC executive chair Jennifer Rubin said: "The UK faces major opportunities and challenges, from climate change, low productivity and the increasing prevalence of obesity, to the need to unlock the potential and mitigate the risks of new technologies such as artificial intelligence and automation." 

"These opportunities and challenges arise from people and behaviors, and how well we grasp and meet them depends on individuals, families, communities, firms and public institutions responding effectively. Social science is vital to understanding how we can equip people with the capabilities and resilience to adapt to the pace and frequency of change and manage new technologies."

ESRC has published a list of its priority research and innovation themes. These include advancing the frontiers of social science, productivity, prosperity and growth, next-generation public services and living with technology. 

Research programs will also look at changing populations and Britain in a changing world.

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