Canada-UK Artificial Intelligence Initiative


Canadian funding agencies: up to C$173,333 per year for Canadian teams for up to three years, for a total of C$520,000 per project.

UKRI: up to £625,000 per project for UK teams at 100% full economic cost.

Duration 3 years
Application deadline

Intention to submit: August 19, 2019 (11:00 p.m. BST / 6:00 p.m. eastern)

Full application: September 12, 2019 (4:00 p.m. BST / 11:00 a.m. eastern)

Results announced January 2020
Apply ESRC’s Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) SystemFootnote *

Table of contents

The Canada-UK Artificial Intelligence Initiative funding opportunity is offered by the three Canadian federal research funding agencies in collaboration with four research councils part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The Canadian agencies include the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR); the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council; and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). The four UK research councils involved in this UKRI initiative are the Arts and Humanities Research Council; the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC); the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; and the Medical Research Council. 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 funding agencies and UKRI are jointly supporting the development of a collaboration in AI between stakeholders in Canada and the UK. The aim is to build competitive and resilient economies and maximize 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. The PIs 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; and
  • 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.

ESRC is the coordinating agency. Documents for this funding opportunity are available on ESRC’s website. All proposals for this call will be submitted through the Joint Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system. The Je-S system is in English only. However, competition materials (see call documents below) are available in French upon request, and applications can be submitted through the Je-S system in English or French. Applicants who wish to write their proposal in French must contact SSHRC in advance for more details.

The full call specifications and other important guidance documents can be found in English only on the ESRC website.

The following call documents are available in French upon request (see contact information below):

  • ESRC webpage announcement
  • Call specification
  • Je-S Guidance for Applicants
  • Compulsory short Intention to Submit (ItS) form
  • Project participant form
  • Post-webinar question and answer document

Potential applicants are encouraged to use CIHR’s partner linkage tool to help in establishing international, interdisciplinary and collaborative teams. The tool offers researchers the opportunity to search for partners and to present their expertise to the community.

The ESRC hosted webinars in English and French for potential applicants to this call on July 17. The webinars were open to participants from Canada and the UK and provided information on the call’s requirements and application process. They also provided an opportunity for questions and answers.  A post-webinars question and answer document can be found on the ESRC website..

Watch the recorded English webinar

For more information, contact:

Lauren Mathieson
Tel.: 613-947-9656

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